The desiccant air conditioning system that will be used in the TriSOFC system has now been fully assembled and instrumented in a laboratory setting at The University of Nottingham. The purpose of this is to test the desiccant system under highly controlled environmental conditions. Following the laboratory testing period, the desiccant system will be moved to a domestic home, to be integrated alongside the the TriSOFC developed fuel cell. The proposed test variables for the laboratory stage of desiccant work are as follows:
- Air and solution flow rates / ratios
- Inlet environmental conditions (temperature and relative humidity)
- Thermal input (simulated from fuel cell)
- Desiccant concentration / temperature
The above image shows the novel tower design of the desiccant AC system. The regenerator, evaporative cooler and dehumidifier are all integrated in one single heat and mass exchanger. This has the advantages of being more compact and less prone to leakage. In the laboratory stage of testing there is no fuel cell present, therefore, a hot water cylinder with an electrical immersion heater has been employed to simulate the fuel cells thermal output. In the image below, the desiccant system is connected to a hot water cylinder. In the domestic home field trials, the hot water cylinder will simply be replaced by the TriSOFC fuel cell.
A proposed test site for the complete TriSOFC system has been decided upon, this will be The David Wilson House at The University of Nottingham’s Creative Energy Homes Project. The project is a research and educational showcase of innovative state-of-the-art energy efficient homes.
The 5th TriSOFC meeting will be held on the 24th February 2014, hosted by TriSOFC partner IDMEC, at The University of Porto, Portugal. This will be a critical meeting as many final decisions regarding the fuel cell design will need to be made, and it will be the last time partners will meet before the mid term review.