Lead Performer: Oak Ridge National Laboratory — Oak Ridge, TN
Partner: STEMINC Piezo Solutions — Doral, FL
DOE Total Funding: $500,000
Cost Share: $56,000
Project Term: September 2017—September 2019
Funding Type: Buildings Energy Efficiency Frontiers & Innovation Technologies (BENEFIT) – 2017 (DE-FOA-0001632)

Project Objective

Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) will investigate a novel dehumidification process to avoid the excessive energy utilized by conventional approaches, through high-frequency mechanical vibration of ultrasonic transducers to “eject” adsorbed water in a liquid form. By removing the phase transition, dehumidification is more efficient than the existing processes of cooling air below the dew-point or absorbing moisture into a desiccant.

The ORNL team will develop and validate a proof-of-concept dehumidification system that collects maximum moisture by using the optimized pore size distribution. This moisture is then removed mechanically by high-frequency vibration generated by the piezoelectric elements within the porous moisture collection structure. This project builds upon the success of ultrasonic drying of fabric, and applies it to mechanical extraction of moisture from porous media, desiccants, or perforated surfaces, leading to considerable reductions in energy consumption for dehumidification.

Project Impact

The proposed project will increase efficiency of the dehumidification process by 3.5 times than current state-of-the-art vapor compression dehumidifiers, with overall savings of up to 715 TBtu per year by 2030. By using high-frequency vibration, the dehumidifier is targeted to remove about 250kJ/kg, as compared with 972-3000 kJ/kg water removal of the state-of-the-art existing processes. This technology will enable Separate Sensible and Latent Cooling (SSLC) air conditioning systems, which will open new markets for U.S. manufacturers.


DOE Technology Manager: Antonio Bouza
Lead Performer: Ayyoub M. Momen, Oak Ridge National Laboratory

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