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Meteorological enthalpy analysis of temperate and maritime climates above 45˚N suggests that the water-side evaporative cooling technique has considerable unrealised potential with contemporary "high temperature" building cooling systems - such as chilled ceilings. As low approach conditions are the key to exploiting the cooling potential of the ambient air, thermal performance at such conditions needs to be investigated. To address the research issues a test rig, based on an open cooling tower and plate heat exchanger and designed to maximise evaporative cooling potential, has been constructed at DIT. A combination of experimental measurement and analysis is used in the investigations.
The performance of open cooling towers, resulting from experimental research, is usually correlated, as a function of the water and air flow rate, in terms of the cooling tower coefficient, or number of transfer units (NTU) achieved. A new correlation has been developed for the experimental tower, which shows a significant increase in the NTU level, at the lower water to air flow rate ratios of interest. As the cooling tower in this application is predominantly a mass transfer device, the evaluation of the total volumetric heat and mass transfer coefficient (kg/sm3) is of particular interest. This coefficient has been determined for the experimental tower and provides a key parameter for the design of this form of heat dissipation in buildings.
Costelloe, B., Finn, D. (2006) Thermal performance of low approach evaporative cooling systems in buildings. Proceedings of second REMIC Renewable energy in maritime and island climates conference, DIT, Bolton Street, April 2006. doi:10.21427/D7CG8G
CIBSE (RoI region), Enterprise Ireland applied research grant, DIT Faculty of Engineering research seed fund