The Next Big Thing in AC: Dehumidification

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Air handling technology is continually changing to meet evolving industry needs, including increased precision, nimble unit size, electrification, and eco-friendliness. While changes and upgrades are more common than ever, once in a while, a new product arrives that offers  game-changing features.  Aaron Meles, Vice President of Products at Mojave, shared with us why he believes their ArctiDry air conditioner is positioned to revolutionize the industry.

Mojave’s Patented Technology

Meles and others worked on developing Mojave’s novel liquid desiccant system for more than a decade in a lab at the renown Palo Alto Research Center (PARC) with support from the Department of Energy.  The resulting Mojave patented technology, is able to cool and dehumidify the air simultaneously, enabling the independent control of dew point and dry bulb. By focusing on dehumidification, lowering energy consumption, reducing refrigerant use, and improving indoor air quality for commercial buildings, Mojave’s ArctiDry product is an ideal solution for applications, such as hospitals, grocery and schools, that require Dedicated Outdoor Air Systems (DOAS).

How Does ArctiDry Work?

Humidity is a big problem for many modern buildings.  As construction techniques have become more efficient, there’s less ambient heat inside, and more humidity remains. ” Traditional air conditioners deal with humidity by just cooling the air,” Meles explains. “Those air conditioners have that little trickle of water coming out the side of them. That’s the humidity condensed out because you’ve cooled the water in it.”

That’s a very  inefficient way to dehumidify the air because in most cases the air is being cooled excessively to reach the dew point, and then the air has to actually be warmed up.  “We used to have a lot of heat to deal with in buildings from light bulbs and machines,” Meles says. “But as we’ve made buildings more efficient, there’s less heat to deal with and, consequently, more humidity.  So now, the traditional air conditioner technology is a bad match for what we’re asking it to do.”

The Mojave ArctiDry uses a liquid desiccant to deal directly with humidity.  “It uses very salty water, about ten times saltier than ocean water, to absorb humidity.” Meles explains, “If you had a puddle of this salty water sitting on the ground in a humid room, the puddle would get bigger over time as it absorbed water out of the air and into itself.  That’s what happens when Mojave dehumidifies the air.  And we’ve matched that process with a refrigeration system.  We’re matching two technologies and using them to minimize the energy needed to maintain temperature and humidity.  The Mojave ArctiDry runs on an electrical connection. It doesn’t require chilled water, city water, or gas lines.”  As a result, ArctiDry is twice as efficient as a traditional air conditioner, especially when dealing with high humidity.

“There are a bunch of cool things you can do with building design if you can assume that you have dry air,” Meles continues. “For example, people are comfortable with a wider range of temperatures if it’s not as humid.  This alone can make buildings much more efficient, use a lot less energy, and ultimately save customers a lot of money.” 

Easy Setup and Maintenance

A new saltwater technology may sound complicated, but Meles emphasizes that the setup is simple – the unit just requires an electrical hookup, and the only novel startup step is to load the desiccant.  “We ship you the unit along with a pallet of jugs of salt water, ” he explains. “As part of the startup, this saltwater gets poured into a tank. And then that’s it.  The saltwater solution lasts the life of the unit. It doesn’t get consumed or need to be replaced.  Ever.”

This saltwater remains liquid at -40F. ” That’s another nice thing about the solution,” Meles notes.  “It’s basically anti-freeze, so it doesn’t need to be winterized, even though it’s open to the elements. It’s built as an outdoor unit.” 

Want to Learn More?

CESI proudly represents Mojave. Contact us today to discover how Mojave ArctiDry can be a part of your next project.