Before we get started, this isnt anything like the new “vaping” trend for smokers. DeVAP, or Deciccant Enhanced Evaporative, is a truly game changing technology in the HVAC world that provides the same cold air we all love and desire but for a much lower energy cost compared to conventional refrigerant based A/C units. The technology blends desiccant and an evaporative cooler together.
Part 1: What is desiccant? Simplest way to put it, “a drying agent”. For anyone interested in the more scientific definition, wikipedia defines it as, “a hygroscopic substance that induces or sustains a state of dryness (desiccation) in its vicinity”. It absorbs the water similar to the moisture absorbent packets in any of your powdered goods or some shipped goods. The picture above will light up the bulb in your head and show you what I am talking about. Those little packets that read “DO NOT EAT”.
Part 2: What is an evaporative cooler? It is a device that cools air through the evaporation of water. Here is the wikipedia link to get even greater detail: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evaporative_cooler . This process of cooling air is very different from the air conditioners we know today which go through a vapor compression or absorbtion refrigeration to remove humidity from the air. Instead water, or humidity, is added back to the air. Many of you reading may better relate to these under the name of “swamp coolers”. These have many benefits over traditional A/C’s: More efficient, always pulling in fresh air instead of recirculating the same, lower emission output, quieter operation and less maintenance. The one downfall I see that comes with its process of adding humidity to the air is that its best used in hot and dry climates since you arent going to want to fill your house with to much humidity where as a refrigerant based A/C unit is well suited for any climate. Or you can simply invest in a a dehumidifier for your home in addition to the new system.
The process blends the benefits of dessicant coolers and evaporative coolers to produce conditioned air more efficiently than ever. Air goes through a liquid desiccant cycle to remove humidity from the air, drying it out, the air then goes through an evaporative cooler to supply dry and cool air; lowering the worry of adding to much humidity for those living in humid environments. The desiccant is regenerated using waste heat so the only energy requirement is when dehumidifying. No coolant required. And since I am more of a visual person, the above image should provide a visual that will be a bit easier to comprehend.
While this is a large spread, a DeVAP Air Conditioner is expected to use 30% to 80% less energy than the most efficient air conditioners that currently use some sort of refrigerant. This will make a huge impact in the industry for anyone seeking Net-Zero Energy or looking to decrease their utility bills. On account that Air Conditioning alone makes up over 10% (in most cases) of homeowners annual utility bills, I think this will be a welcomed addition to the market. Unfortunately it seems that these systems are currently only used in commercial spaces due to their current size but you can expect companies, even government agencies, are working hard to make this technology more compact for residential use. Until that day comes, be on the lookout or ask your local HVAC company if they have any additional thoughts on this new technology. Now you have a little better understanding of one of the current trends in this industry. I for one am looking forward to this innovation in the future.