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International Journal on Architectural Science, Volume 2, Number 4, p.

113-117, 2001

ANALYSIS OF EXERGY OF MOIST AIR AND ENERGY SAVING


POTENTIAL IN HVAC BY EVAPORATIVE COOLING OR ENERGY
RECOVERY

C.Q. Ren, G.F. Tang, N.P. Li, G.F. Zhang and J. Yang
College of Mechanical and Automotive Engineering
Hunan University, Changsha, Hunan, Peoples Republic of China

(Received 24 July 2001; Accepted 24 October 2001)

ABSTRACT

Of evaporative cooling or energy recovery potential in HVAC, the conventional thermodynamic analysis is
based on the enthalpy of moist air. In fact, the available energy of moist air is its exergy and the available
energy saving potential ought to be the exergy. Isoexergic lines on psychometric charts associated with
different ambient states persuade us that exergy and enthalpy are completely independent of each other. Thus,
the enthalpy analysis is at least imperfect. Selecting the saturated state of moist air at ambient temperature (T0)
and pressure (p0) as the dead-state, this paper analyses the exergy of moist air. It is broken down into three
components: thermal, mechanical and chemical, so that each of them may be represented with a special devised
diagram applicable to various conditions and ambient states among HVAC applications. Two guidelines for
such applications are extracted from the diagrams as these: lower dead-state temperature (T0) with the same
difference of the humidity ratio ( - 0S) is related with higher chemical exergy, and hence, the recovery of
latent heat availability will probably be more valuable in winter than in summer; the exergy loss due to air flow
resistance in a heat exchanger is usually small when compared with the potential of thermal and chemical
exergy gaining. Further, the exergies of outdoor and exhaust room air are calculated and tabled for some
Chinese cities and different types of air conditioning based on some statistic average parameters. Some general
conclusions are drawn. For most districts on average room air parameters, the exhaust room air exergy is
greater in winter than in summer. In winter, when exhaust room air temperature is low, the exergy of sensible
heat is the main component of available energy saving potential. On contrast, the latent heat usually makes the
prevailing contribution in summer, while at some dry locations, the exergy of outdoor air is even greater than
that of exhaust room air.

1. INTRODUCTION or utilized is its exergy. Therefore, the available


energy saving potential ought to be the exergy.
Evaporative cooling and energy recovery may be This potential is independent of the equipment used
utilized to reduce energy consumption in Heating and will be useful for comparison of performances
Ventilating and Air Conditioning (HVAC). Many of different equipments. Thus, the current analysis
different types of equipment have been developed seems to be warranted.
for such applications. For example, fixed plate
heat exchangers [1,2], thermosiphon [3], energy
wheel, run-around heat exchanger systems [4-6], 2. ANALYSIS OF EXERGY OF MOIST
desiccant assisted heat recovery [7], etc are among AIR
these equipments. Effectiveness defined on the
basis of energy saving potential is used to evaluate Moist air may be considered as a mixture of ideal
the performances of different equipments. In gases, dry air, and water vapor. The exergy of
reviewing the literature, the authors note that moist air per unit mass dry air is represented by the
energy saving potential is usually defined on the following equation. Which appears in similar
basis of the first thermodynamic law analysis and formats in many textbooks of thermodynamics
even dependent on the type of equipments. [9,10]:
Conventionally, two kinds of definition are used:
sensible heat potential and enthalpy potential. ex = (C pa + C pv )[T T 0 T 0 ln(T/T 0 )] +
Chen et al. [8] conducted the calculation of (1 + 1.608)R a T 0 ln(p/p 0 ) +
enthalpy potential by indirect evaporative cooling R a T 0 {(1 + 1.608 )ln[(1 + 1.608 0s )/
in detail for various U.S. and Chinese cities. (1 + 1.608)] + 1.608ln(/ 0s )} (1)
However, the second law analysis tells us that the
available energy of moist air that may be recovered

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International Journal on Architectural Science

where, T, p and denote temperature, pressure and The exergy of moist air expressed by equation (1)
humidity ratio respectively. may be broken down into three components:
thermal, mechanical and chemical. They are
Usually, the atmospheric condition (T0, p0, 0) is denoted as exth, exme and exch respectively and may
selected as the ambient or dead-state condition. In be represented in the following equations:
thermodynamic analysis, ambient is regarded as
a heat and mass reservoir with infinite heat and exth = (cpa + cpv)(T T0 T0ln(T/T0)) (2)
mass capacity. Any system that is in unrestricted
equilibrium with this environment will have no exme = (1 + 1.608 ) RaT0ln(p/p0) (3)
available energy. However, in air conditioning,
the atmospheric air may also be used as the 1 + 1 . 608 0 s
secondary air to cool incoming outdoor air by ex ch = R a T0 [(1 + 1 . 608 ) ln +
1 + 1 . 608
evaporative cooling [8] unless the secondary air is
1.608ln( 0s /)] (4)
saturated. Thus, the authors suggest that the
saturated state (T0, p0, 0s) in thermal and Therefore,
mechanical equilibrium with the atmospheric
condition is selected as the dead-state condition ex = exth + exme + exch (5)
[11]. Where, 0s denotes the humidity ratio of
saturated moist air at condition (T0, p0). Take p0 = 1 atm, equations (2) to (4) may also be
represented by three diagrams plotted against T, p
Let p = p0 = 1 atm, T0 = 20C and 30C, two = p p0, respectively as shown in Figs. 2 to 4.
diagrams of isoexergic lines drawn on Fig. 4b is given to get a distinct view of the bottom
psychometric chart according to equation (1) are part in Fig. 4a.
shown in Fig. 1. Where, isoexergic lines are
represented with the dash curves. We can see In air conditioning, thermal and chemical exergy is
from these diagrams that the enthalpy and exergy recovered with heat recovery systems at the
are completely independent of each other. Hence, expense of mechanical exergy lost due to flow
enthalpy potential cannot be used instead of friction. For this reason, the interests that concern
available energy potential. From these diagrams, us are whether the sum of retrieval gainings will be
we can also see that any adiabatic humidifying greater than the expense and which gaining will be
process, which is considered as no energy loss with more important. With the aid of these figures, a
respect to enthalpy change, will lead to the general comparison of the different exergies is
destruction of exergy. Hence, exergy analysis can conducted based on the common practices in air
help us to find out the opportunities of improving
conditioning. Take a typical case (T = 24C, T0 =
the system design in practice. For example, we
36C, p = 60 Pa, = 65%) for example, exth
can use regenerative evaporative cooling scheme to
replace direct or indirect evaporative cooling 0.24 kJkg-1(a), exch 1.71 kJkg-1(a), exme 0.053
scheme in evaporative cooling assisted air kJkg-1(a). We can see from these results that exme
conditioning systems in order to obtain more << exth + exch and exch > exth. Similar relations
energy savings [13]. Thus, exergy analysis is may be obtained for other typical cases. Another
warranted. interesting phenomenon may also be seen from Fig.
T 4 if the two extreme cases (1. 0s = 1.03 gkg -1(a)

Humidity ratio g/kg(a) Humidity ratio g/kg(a)


0 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 40 42 0 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 40 42
3.8
3.04 2.25
60 2.28 60 1.12 kJ/kg(a)
55 55
50 1.52kJ/kg(a) 50
45 45
40 40
Temperature T C

0.761
TC

35 35
30 30
25 25
Temperature

20 20 ex=0kJ/kg(a)
15 h=80kJ/kg(a) 15 h=80kJ/kg(a)
10 10
ex=0kJ/kg(a)
5 5
0 h=40kJ/kg(a) 0 h=40kJ/kg(a)
-5 T0=20 C -5 T0=30 C
-10 p0=1atm -10 p0=1atm
-15 -15
Exergy-Psychometric Chart Exergy-Psychometric Chart

(a) T0 = 20 C (b) T0 = 30 C

Fig. 1: Diagrams of isoexergic lines on psychometric charts

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International Journal on Architectural Science

5
P0=1atm 4
3

Exergy exme / (1+) (kJkg-1(a))


2

Exergy exth / (1+) (kJkg-1(a))


1
T0=45C

T0=-15C
39C
-9C
33C
-3C
1--T0=-45C
27C
3C 2--T0=-15C
3--T0=15C
21C
9C 4--T0=45C
1
15C
2 5--T0=75C
15C
34
9C
21C
3C 5

Temperature T (C) Pressure difference p (kPa)

Fig. 2: Thermal exergy of moist air Fig. 3: Mechanical exergy of moist air

-15C
T0=45
-9C
Exergy exch (kJkg-1(a))

Exergy exch (kJkg-1(a))

T0=-15C -3C
39C
-9C T0=3C

9C
0s=1.03 g/kg(a) -3C

33C 15C
1.77 3C
21C
2.97 9C
0s=65.9 g/kg(a) 4.75 27C
15C 27C
T0=45C 7.22
46.8 21C
10.8 33C
39C
15.9 27C
23 32.9 33C

Humidity ratio (gkg-1(a)) Humidity ratio (gkg-1(a))


(a) (b)

Fig. 4: Chemical exergy of moist air

and = 65 gkg-1(a), 2. 0s = 65 gkg-1(a) and = 3. APPLICATION OF EXERGY


1.03 gkg-1(a) ) are compared. The second case ANALYSIS IN ENERGY SAVING
will possess much greater exergy than the first one POTENTIAL
though they hold the same humidity ratio
difference. Thus, two guidelines may be extracted To estimate the energy saving potential, exergies of
from the above analysis as these: exhaust room air or outdoor air is calculated and
tabled for varies Chinese cities as shown in Table 1.
the exergy loss due to air flow resistance in a The average outdoor-air conditions are obtained
heat exchanger is usually small when from handbooks of air conditioning [12]. The
compared with the potential of thermal and calculations are also based on the following room
chemical exergy gaining; air conditions that are given in ranges of x ,
chemical exergy will take much great where x represents the average value of room air
importance in heat recovery, lower dead-state conditions recommended for different types of air
temperature (T0) with the same difference of conditioning and represents the corresponding
the humidity ratio ( 0S) is related with mean square deviation.
higher chemical exergy, and hence, the
recovery of latent heat availability will Winter: T = 17.6 ~ 24.5C, = 45.2 ~ 65.9%
probably be more valuable in winter than in
Summer: T = 22.2 ~ 28.2C, = 48 ~ 67%
summer.

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International Journal on Architectural Science

In this table, the exergies are all given out in ranges Because of the low temperature at winter condition,
between the lower and upper limits. In winter, the the humidity ratio difference (0s 0) is very
lower and upper limits correspond to the lower and small and the exergy of outdoor air is negligible
upper limits of room air parameters in order. In and not listed here.
summer, they are related in the reverse order.

Table 1: Exergy of incoming outdoor air and exhaust room air for different locations

winter summer
exergy of
outdoor exergy of exhaust room air outdoor exergy of exhaust room air
cities outdoor air
T exth exch exth + exch T Tw exch exth exch exth + exch
(C) % kJkg-1(a) kJkg-1(a) kJkg-1(a) (C) (C) kJkg-1(a) kJkg-1(a) kJkg-1(a) kJkg-1(a)
Beijing -12 45 1.568~2.346 0.476~2.138 2.044~4.484 33.2 26.4 0.473 0.041~0.203 0.699~1.854 0.741~2.058
Taiyuan -15 51 1.909~2.758 0.618~2.495 2.527~5.252 31.2 23.4 0.587 0.015~0.136 0.463~1.48 0.478~1.616
Shenyang -22 64 2.841~3.855 0.986~3.367 3.827~7.222 31.4 25.4 0.357 0.017~0.142 0.485~1.516 0.502~1.658
Dalian -14 58 1.791~2.617 0.569~2.372 2.36~4.989 28.4 25.0 0.111 0.0~0.065 0.219~1.039 0.219~1.104
Changchun -26 68 3.461~4.57 1.211~3.882 4.673~8.452 30.5 24.2 0.384 0.009~0.116 0.389~1.355 0.398~1.471
Haerbin -29 74 3.969~5.148 1.385~4.273 5.354~9.422 30.3 23.4 0.451 0.007~0.111 0.369~1.32 0.377~1.43
Shanghai -4 75 0.827~1.417 0.158~1.239 0.985~2.655 34.0 28.2 0.361 0.056~0.234 0.818~2.032 0.874~2.266
Nanjing -6 73 0.989~1.626 0.226~1.451 1.215~3.077 35.0 28.3 0.487 0.076~0.275 0.974~2.258 1.051~2.532
Hangzhou -4 77 0.827~1.417 0.158~1.239 0.985~2.655 35.7 28.5 0.565 0.093~0.305 1.088~2.418 1.181~2.724
Hefei -7 75 1.076~1.737 0.262~1.56 1.339~3.296 35.0 28.2 0.501 0.076~0.275 0.974~2.258 1.051~2.532
Fuzhou 4 74 0.325~0.726 0.005~0.542 0.33~1.268 35.2 28.0 0.56 0.081~0.283 1.006~2.303 1.087~2.587
Xiamen 6 73 0.236~0.59 0.0~0.41 0.236~1 33.4 27.6 0.353 0.045~0.211 0.729~1.899 0.773~2.109
Nanchang -3 74 0.751~1.317 0.128~1.137 0.879~2.454 35.6 27.9 0.64 0.091~0.301 1.071~2.395 1.162~2.696
Jinan -10 54 1.36~2.091 0.385~1.9 1.744~3.99 34.8 26.7 0.695 0.072~0.266 0.942~2.212 1.014~2.478
Qingdao -9 64 1.261~1.969 0.342~1.785 1.604~3.754 29.0 26.0 0.087 0.001~0.078 0.262~1.123 0.263~1.202
Zhengzhou -7 60 1.076~1.737 0.262~1.56 1.339~3.296 35.6 27.4 0.722 0.091~0.301 1.071~2.395 1.162~2.696
Luoyang -7 57 1.076~1.737 0.262~1.56 1.339~3.296 35.9 27.5 0.758 0.098~0.314 1.121~2.465 1.219~2.779
Wuhan -5 76 0.906~1.52 0.191~1.347 1.098~2.867 35.2 28.2 0.531 0.081~0.283 1.006~2.303 1.087~2.587
Changsha -3 81 0.751~1.317 0.128~1.137 0.879~2.454 35.8 27.7 0.706 0.095~0.31 1.104~2.441 1.2~2.751
Guangzhou 5 70 0.278~0.656 0.001~0.475 0.279~1.131 33.5 27.7 0.354 0.047~0.214 0.743~1.921 0.79~2.135
Haikou 10 85 0.1~0.361 0.035~0.193 0.136~0.554 34.5 27.9 0.468 0.066~0.254 0.895~2.144 0.961~2.398
Nanning 5 75 0.278~0.656 0.001~0.475 0.279~1.131 34.2 27.5 0.479 0.06~0.242 0.849~2.077 0.908~2.318
Guilin 0 71 0.546~1.042 0.054~0.845 0.6~1.887 33.9 27.0 0.504 0.054~0.23 0.803~2.01 0.857~2.239
Chengdu 1 80 0.485~0.957 0.037~0.765 0.523~1.722 31.6 26.7 0.246 0.019~0.149 0.507~1.552 0.526~1.701
Chongqing 2 82 0.428~0.877 0.024~0.687 0.452~1.564 36.5 27.3 0.919 0.114~0.342 1.237~2.625 1.351~2.967
Guiyang -3 78 0.751~1.317 0.128~1.137 0.879~2.454 30.0 23.0 0.456 0.005~0.103 0.34~1.267 0.345~1.37
Lasa -8 28 1.167~1.851 0.302~1.673 1.469~3.524 22.8 13.5 0.717 0..049~0.001 0.005~0.43 0.054~0.431
Xian -8 67 1.167~1.851 0.302~1.673 1.469~3.524 35.2 26.0 0.883 0.081~0.283 1.006~2.303 1.087~2.587
Lanzhou -13 58 1.677~2.479 0.524~2.261 2.202~4.74 30.5 20.2 0.978 0.009~0.116 0.389~1.355 0.398~1.471
Yinchuan -18 58 1.862~3.204 0.398~2.862 2.259~6.066 30.6 22.0 0.692 0.01~0.119 0.4~1.373 0.409~1.492
Wulumuqi -27 80 3.627~4.758 1.269~4.012 4.896~8.771 34.1 18.5 2.307 0.058~0.238 0.833~2.054 0.891~2.292
Taibei 9 82 0.129~0.413 0.02~0.241 0.149~0.654 33.6 27.3 0.418 0.048~0.218 0.758~1.943 0.806~2.161
Hong Kong 8 71 0.161~0.468 0.009~0.294 0.17~0.762 32.4 27.3 0.27 0.029~0.175 0.599~1.699 0.628~1.874

* Tw denotes wet bulb temperature

116
International Journal on Architectural Science

From this table, some conclusions can be drawn as 6. P. Dhital, R.W. Besant and G.J. Schoenau,
following: Integrating run-around heat exchanger systems
into the design of a large office building,
On average, the exergy of room air is greater ASHRAE Transactions, Vol. 101, No. 2, pp.
979-991 (1995).
in winter than in summer and so does the
available energy saving potential; 7. M. Merkler, Desiccant outdoor air preconditioners
maximize heat recovery ventilation potentials,
In winter, when exhaust room air temperature ASHRAE Transactions, Vol. 101, No. 2, pp.
is low, the exergy of sensible heat is the main 993-1000 (1995).
component of available energy saving
8. P. Chen, H. Qin, Y.J. Huang, H. Wu and C.
potential. In contrast, the latent heat usually Blumstein, The energy-saving potential of
makes the prevailing contribution in summer, precooling incoming outdoor air by indirect
while at some dry locations, the exergy of evaporative cooling, ASHRAE Transactions, Vol.
outdoor air is even greater than that of exhaust 99, No. 1, pp. 322-331 (1993).
room air.
9. Kenneth Work, JR., Advanced thermodynamics for
engineers, Chap. 6 and Chap. 11, McGraw-Hill,
New York (1995).
4. SUMMARY
10. A. Bejan, Advanced engineering thermodynamics,
Chap. 5, Wiley, New York (1988).
Analysis of exergy of moist air has been carried out
to explore the available energy saving potential for 11. C.Q. Ren, G.F. Tang, N.P. Li, G.F. Zhang and L.
various conditions and locations. It is independent Ouyang, Discussion on principles of exergy
of the types and dimensions of the equipment used analysis applied to HVAC systems, International
Conference on Energy Conversion and Application
in practice. Thus it provides an objective criterion
(ICECA 2001), Wuhan (2001).
for evaluating the performance of evaporative
cooling or heat recovery systems. Useful guidelines 12. R.Y. Zhao, et al., Succinct handbook of air
and conclusions are drawn in section 2 and 3. The conditioning design, China Architecture and
special devised diagrams of thermal, mechanical Building Press, Peking, China (1998) - In Chinese.
and chemical exergies will provide convenience in 13. C.Q. Ren, Exergy analysis of evaporative cooling
calculations and qualitative analysis. Compared and numerical research on the heat transfer in a
to the traditional study using enthalpy, exergy new plate heat exchanger, Ph.D. Thesis, Hunan
analysis can help us to locate the irrational design University, China (2001).
and the opportunities of improving system design
and lead to larger energy saving. However, further
work should be invested in evaluating the
performance of different types of practical
equipments and searching for the optimum design
method.

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