Novel Air Handler for Energy- Efficient ACMV Operation in Tropical Environments

This project focusses on condensation acceleration work to demonstrate and test a new class of air handler for use in tropical climates. This new approach spatially separates the removal of latent and sensible heat from air to reduce energy consumption. The approach involves firstly cooling the humid air rapidly to supersaturated conditions, with a heat exchanger that has been coated with patented super-hydrophobic salinized zinc oxide nano-porous surface.

Secondly, water droplets (both those shed from the heat exchanger and those nucleated on solid impurities in the air) are allowed to grow as they move with the supersaturated air and are then swept mechanically out from the system when their heat content is maximal. Controlling this new system effectively requires selection of coolant temperature, air flow speed, and geometrical parameters including the geometry of the structures for droplet shedding, as well as the length of the heat exchanger. This project incorporates real users of Singapore buildings into the design of the control algorithm and engages technology companies to develop home automation technologies.

Please see below for an animation of a water droplet on a highly thermally conductive, ultrahydrophobic coated cooling coil to accelerate dropwise condensation.

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