Why is XERIC innovative?
In our project we plan to exploit technologically the desiccants properties of aqueous solutions housed in a new membrane contactor. This new three-fluids-combined membrane contactor (3F-CMC) works simultaneously with air, desiccant solution, and refrigerant. Its development is based on a patent owned by the University of Genova. In fact, membrane contactors currently on the market work with two fluids only (i.e., air and desiccant solution – 2F-MC).
XERIC’s technological breakthrough:
a three-fluids-combined membrane contactor.
Why is a 3F-CMC more efficient than a 2F-MC?
In a 2F-CMC the driving force (i.e., the difference in vapour pressure between air and desiccant) decreases along the contactor due to the increase of temperature of the desiccant solution, thus reducing its efficiency.
In a 3F-CMC, the desiccant solution exchanges both heat and vapour with the process air and sensible heat with a refrigerant. The latter undergoes a phase change and, thus, acts as a heat sink that minimises the downstream desiccant temperature variation: a high overall mass transfer potential is maintained along the contactor between air and desiccant solution.
A heat pump in winter
In addition, our system will be designed to work as a heat pump by inverting the flow of the refrigerant in the vapour compression cycle: the passenger cabin will be heated in winter conditions.
XERIC’s innovation path is shown below: