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Indirect evaporative cooling potential in air–water systems in temperate climates

Recent developments have prompted a review of evaporative cooling technology as an effective means of cooling modern deep plan buildings. Prominent among these developments is the success of high temperature sensible cooling systems, particularly, chilled ceilings, which require a supply of cooling water at 14–18 °C. Crucial to the success of evaporative cooling technology, as a significant means of cooling in modern applications, is the ability to generate cooling water, in an indirect circuit, at a temperature which closely approaches the ambient adiabatic saturation temperature (AST) or wet bulb temperature (WBT). Recent experimental research has demonstrated that it is technically viable to generate such cooling water at a temperature of 3 K above the ambient AST. While the frequency of ambient AST occurrence can be obtained from meteorological sources, there is little in-depth analysis of the potential for this form of cooling water generation, based on the approach temperatures which have now been shown to be viable. The decision to use an evaporative cooling system depends largely on an assessment, in-depth, of net energy saved against capital expended. Such an assessment requires detailed data on the availability of cooling water, generated by evaporation, for each location. This paper quantifies evaporative cooling availability in-depth for a northern and southern European city, Dublin and Milan and suggests a method of analysing such data for any world wide location, for which suitable meteorological records are available. The paper, incorporates recent experimental research findings and bases the availability analysis on meteorological test reference weather year data. The results of this research confirm a major potential for the generation of cooling water by evaporative means, which can be used to provide effective cooling of deep plan buildings by means of contemporary water based sensible cooling systems, such as fan coil systems, radiant chilled ceiling panels and ceiling cooling convectors (chilled beams). While the technique offers most potential in locations with a northern European temperate climate, it has significant potential to contribute to cooling in some southern European cities, during the non-summer months and also at other times, particularly where load shaving techniques are incorporated.

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