Energy impact of vacuum-based membrane dehumidification in building air-conditioning applications

Hye Jin Cho, Seong Yong Cheon, Jae Weon Jeong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The energy and operating performances of a vacuum membrane dehumidification system were theoretically investigated for building air conditioning applications. The dehumidification effectiveness and coefficient of performance (COP) were adopted as performance indices. A one-dimensional mass-transfer model was derived to analyze the effect of each operating parameter on dehumidification performance. The data predicted by the model agreed well with measured results, with an error bound of 20%. Parametric analysis results indicated that the vacuum side pressure had the most significant impact on the energy and dehumidification performances. It was also observed that the membrane module length plays an important role in the module design. Based on the analysis results, a configuration and operating strategy of a vacuum membrane dehumidifier-assisted variable air volume air conditioning system were suggested. Subsequently, the proposed system was evaluated by comparing its energy and operating performances with those of the conventional variable air volume air system via energy simulations. The results indicated that the total primary energy consumption from the proposed system was 8.2% lower than that of the conventional system. However, the fan energy consumption in the proposed system was 2.5 times higher than that of the conventional system owing to the high pressure drop of membrane module. In addition, the proposed system consumed 7.7% more primary energy for dehumidification and sensible cooling process because of its lower COP. To achieve comparable energy performance, further research on the optimized design of a membrane module and optimized operation of a vacuum pump in the proposed system are necessary.

Original languageEnglish
Article number116094
JournalApplied Thermal Engineering
StatePublished - 2021 Jan 5


  • Energy simulation
  • HVAC application
  • Isothermal dehumidification
  • Numerical analysis
  • Vacuum-based membrane dehumidification

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