Climate Control Using Desiccant Dehumidification

Desiccant dehumidifiers are one of the most effective ways of removing moisture from the air within industrial environments and commercial buildings. This climate control technology is implemented through a variety of applications in nearly two dozen major industries. The desiccant material or chemical used in these dehumidifiers easily attracts and contains water vapors. Desiccant dehumidification is well-known as being a proven alternative for achieving climate control at lower humidity levels and cooler temperatures.

How Desiccant Dehumidifiers Work

These dehumidifiers are powered by a patented wheel constructed of a corrugated material and the desiccant. As air streams pass through the material, the moisture in water vapors is attracted to the desiccant, allowing only dry air to exit. A smaller exhaust airstream, or reactivation air, located below helps to dry off the desiccant wheel as it turns. The newly dried material then rotates back up to collect and absorb more moisture, restarting the cycle again.

The Appeal of Desiccant Dehumidifiers

The reactivation exhaust was initially powered by natural gas, but all-electric desiccant dehumidifiers are now available. The demand for desiccant dehumidification has increased in recent years. These devices offer lower costs, higher efficiency, modular designs and various innovations implementing silica gel. Using the exhaust heat generated by the condenser to regenerate the rotor wheel is what makes this type of dehumidifier so efficient.

Compressor or Desiccant Dehumidifiers

Desiccant dehumidifiers operate most efficiently when used alongside a refrigeration-based dehumidifier. Each limitation you find with compressor or desiccant dehumidifiers is compensated for by their counterpart. Compressor dehumidifiers are more common, but more people are now learning that desiccant dehumidifiers provide better efficiency in most environments. Desiccant dehumidifiers are also more eco-friendly because they do not emit the greenhouse gases generated by compressors.

Compressor dehumidifiers extract humidity best at 86 ºF but works inefficiently when temperatures fall below 41 ºF. However, desiccant dehumidifiers operate efficiently anywhere from 32 to 86 ºF and run at a lower cost due to their superior consistency. Desiccant dehumidification eliminates the fluctuations in efficiency compressors suffer from as the temperature changes.

Real Applications for Desiccant Dehumidifiers

The difference in thermal and electrical costs often determine which type of dehumidifier or a mix of the two is the most economic way to remove moisture from the air. Some of the industries using desiccant dehumidifiers to achieve climate control below 45-percent relative humidity include marine storage, military, automotive, chemical laboratories, food and candy and pharmaceuticals. Applications requiring a relative humidity above 50 percent can rely on compressor dehumidifiers.

Desiccant dehumidification may also help lower HVAC installation costs and reduce the energy consumption of the fans and pumps. Ultimately, desiccant dehumidification provides more reliable climate control in environments with cooler temperatures. These dehumidifiers are also considerably quieter than the compressor dehumidifier.

The desiccant is designed to help lower the latent cooling load for the building’s HVAC system. These types of dehumidifiers are most commonly found in healthcare buildings, arenas, high-rise offices and apartments and low-rise offices. When there are humidity-sensitive processes underway or indoor air quality is a high priority, desiccant dehumidification is the most favorable option for climate control.