Historically, the only way to condition air was to draw it over a cold surface, around 45 degrees Fahrenheit, but Ithaca-based Taitem Engineering, PC has found a way to do it with much warmer surfaces, around 60 degrees Fahrenheit.
In August, a team from Taitem—led by Ian Shapiro—successfully tested the concept of a Split Airstream Desiccant Cooling system at the Building Energy and Environmental Systems (BEES) Laboratory at Syracuse University. The team met its system efficiency goal of a 1.2 coefficient of performance. Syracuse CoE funded the testing with a grant from the US Environmental Protection Agency.
The system splits an air stream in two and uses a desiccant wheel to transfer moisture to one stream, increasing relative humidity so that warmer water can condition the air. Thus, it could use cool water from geothermal wells or lakes. It does not use a compressor or refrigerants, uses little electricity, and runs quietly.
It does require heat, but using geothermal wells and solar energy could provide air conditioning virtually for free. Even if the system used gas, the operating cost could be as much as half that of conventional air conditioning. For more information on Taitem, click here.