APPLICATIONS OF TECHNOLOGY:
- Commercial and residential buildings
- Reduces indoor moisture to inhibit mold growth and moisture damage
- Energy efficient—air does not have to be reheated prior to delivery
- No refrigerant or desiccant material required
Berkeley Lab researchers have developed a technology that relies on the psychrometric properties of compressed air to dehumidify indoor air to comfortable levels. The technology is more energy efficient that current dehumidification approaches because it does not require a reheat cycle prior to delivering conditioned air, as in HVAC units with dehumidification cycles. In addition, the technology does not require materials that may require special handling such as refrigerants or desiccants, the latter of which have limited capabilities and require regeneration.
The Compression Ratio Dehumidification technology will address a growing concern since energy efficiency standards became broadly adopted nationwide. These standards, such as California’s Title 24, limit the amount of outdoor air entering a space. While this approach reduces energy use by lowering an HVAC unit’s heating or cooling load, it removes a natural source of dehumidification. As a result, commercial buildings have seen a rise in moisture, which leads to mold growth, water damage, personal discomfort and a potentially-related increase in asthma attacks. In time, as more homeowners install energy efficient windows that limit the introduction of outside air, similar observations will be made in residential properties. Building owners will want to address moisture issues with an energy efficient technology, such as the Berkeley Lab invention, not one that effectively cancels out the energy efficient upgrades that have been made already.
DEVELOPMENT STAGE: Bench scale testing completed.
STATUS: Patent pending. Available for licensing or collaborative research.
SEE THESE OTHER BERKELEY LAB TECHNOLOGIES IN THIS FIELD:
REFERENCE NUMBER: IB-2800