WO2015005791A1 - Device and method for extracting various components from ambient air or from a vapor-gas mixture, and a system for cooling air, heating air, desalination of water and/or purification of water - Google Patents

Device and method for extracting various components from ambient air or from a vapor-gas mixture, and a system for cooling air, heating air, desalination of water and/or purification of water Download PDF

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Publication number
WO2015005791A1
WO2015005791A1 PCT/NL2014/050477 NL2014050477W WO2015005791A1 WO 2015005791 A1 WO2015005791 A1 WO 2015005791A1 NL 2014050477 W NL2014050477 W NL 2014050477W WO 2015005791 A1 WO2015005791 A1 WO 2015005791A1
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WO
WIPO (PCT)
Prior art keywords
air
condenser
flow
vessel
gas
Prior art date
Application number
PCT/NL2014/050477
Other languages
French (fr)
Inventor
Igor Kogan
Viktor VARTOVOI
Original Assignee
Vitality Vector B.V.
Priority date (The priority date is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the date listed.)
Filing date
Publication date
Priority to NL2011146 priority Critical
Priority to NL2011146A priority patent/NL2011146C2/en
Priority to NL2012292 priority
Priority to NL2012292A priority patent/NL2012292C2/en
Application filed by Vitality Vector B.V. filed Critical Vitality Vector B.V.
Priority claimed from US14/888,942 external-priority patent/US20160109143A1/en
Publication of WO2015005791A1 publication Critical patent/WO2015005791A1/en

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Classifications

    • FMECHANICAL ENGINEERING; LIGHTING; HEATING; WEAPONS; BLASTING
    • F24HEATING; RANGES; VENTILATING
    • F24FAIR-CONDITIONING; AIR-HUMIDIFICATION; VENTILATION; USE OF AIR CURRENTS FOR SCREENING
    • F24F3/00Air-conditioning systems in which conditioned primary air is supplied from one or more central stations to distributing units in the rooms or spaces where it may receive secondary treatment; Apparatus specially designed for such systems
    • F24F3/12Air-conditioning systems in which conditioned primary air is supplied from one or more central stations to distributing units in the rooms or spaces where it may receive secondary treatment; Apparatus specially designed for such systems characterised by the treatment of the air otherwise than by heating and cooling
    • F24F3/14Air-conditioning systems in which conditioned primary air is supplied from one or more central stations to distributing units in the rooms or spaces where it may receive secondary treatment; Apparatus specially designed for such systems characterised by the treatment of the air otherwise than by heating and cooling by humidification; by dehumidification
    • F24F3/1411Air-conditioning systems in which conditioned primary air is supplied from one or more central stations to distributing units in the rooms or spaces where it may receive secondary treatment; Apparatus specially designed for such systems characterised by the treatment of the air otherwise than by heating and cooling by humidification; by dehumidification by absorbing or adsorbing water, e.g. using an hygroscopic desiccant
    • F24F3/1429Air-conditioning systems in which conditioned primary air is supplied from one or more central stations to distributing units in the rooms or spaces where it may receive secondary treatment; Apparatus specially designed for such systems characterised by the treatment of the air otherwise than by heating and cooling by humidification; by dehumidification by absorbing or adsorbing water, e.g. using an hygroscopic desiccant alternatively operating a heat exchanger in an absorbing/adsorbing mode and a heat exchanger in a regeneration mode
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B01PHYSICAL OR CHEMICAL PROCESSES OR APPARATUS IN GENERAL
    • B01DSEPARATION
    • B01D53/00Separation of gases or vapours; Recovering vapours of volatile solvents from gases; Chemical or biological purification of waste gases, e.g. engine exhaust gases, smoke, fumes, flue gases, aerosols
    • B01D53/02Separation of gases or vapours; Recovering vapours of volatile solvents from gases; Chemical or biological purification of waste gases, e.g. engine exhaust gases, smoke, fumes, flue gases, aerosols by adsorption, e.g. preparative gas chromatography
    • B01D53/04Separation of gases or vapours; Recovering vapours of volatile solvents from gases; Chemical or biological purification of waste gases, e.g. engine exhaust gases, smoke, fumes, flue gases, aerosols by adsorption, e.g. preparative gas chromatography with stationary adsorbents
    • B01D53/0462Temperature swing adsorption
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B01PHYSICAL OR CHEMICAL PROCESSES OR APPARATUS IN GENERAL
    • B01DSEPARATION
    • B01D53/00Separation of gases or vapours; Recovering vapours of volatile solvents from gases; Chemical or biological purification of waste gases, e.g. engine exhaust gases, smoke, fumes, flue gases, aerosols
    • B01D53/26Drying gases or vapours
    • B01D53/261Drying gases or vapours by adsorption
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B01PHYSICAL OR CHEMICAL PROCESSES OR APPARATUS IN GENERAL
    • B01DSEPARATION
    • B01D53/00Separation of gases or vapours; Recovering vapours of volatile solvents from gases; Chemical or biological purification of waste gases, e.g. engine exhaust gases, smoke, fumes, flue gases, aerosols
    • B01D53/26Drying gases or vapours
    • B01D53/265Drying gases or vapours by refrigeration (condensation)
    • FMECHANICAL ENGINEERING; LIGHTING; HEATING; WEAPONS; BLASTING
    • F28HEAT EXCHANGE IN GENERAL
    • F28DHEAT-EXCHANGE APPARATUS, NOT PROVIDED FOR IN ANOTHER SUBCLASS, IN WHICH THE HEAT-EXCHANGE MEDIA DO NOT COME INTO DIRECT CONTACT
    • F28D5/00Heat-exchange apparatus having stationary conduit assemblies for one heat-exchange medium only, the media being in contact with different sides of the conduit wall, using the cooling effect of natural or forced evaporation
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B01PHYSICAL OR CHEMICAL PROCESSES OR APPARATUS IN GENERAL
    • B01DSEPARATION
    • B01D2257/00Components to be removed
    • B01D2257/50Carbon oxides
    • B01D2257/504Carbon dioxide
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B01PHYSICAL OR CHEMICAL PROCESSES OR APPARATUS IN GENERAL
    • B01DSEPARATION
    • B01D2259/00Type of treatment
    • B01D2259/40Further details for adsorption processes and devices
    • B01D2259/40083Regeneration of adsorbents in processes other than pressure or temperature swing adsorption
    • B01D2259/40088Regeneration of adsorbents in processes other than pressure or temperature swing adsorption by heating
    • B01D2259/4009Regeneration of adsorbents in processes other than pressure or temperature swing adsorption by heating using hot gas
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B01PHYSICAL OR CHEMICAL PROCESSES OR APPARATUS IN GENERAL
    • B01DSEPARATION
    • B01D2259/00Type of treatment
    • B01D2259/40Further details for adsorption processes and devices
    • B01D2259/402Further details for adsorption processes and devices using two beds
    • BPERFORMING OPERATIONS; TRANSPORTING
    • B01PHYSICAL OR CHEMICAL PROCESSES OR APPARATUS IN GENERAL
    • B01DSEPARATION
    • B01D2259/00Type of treatment
    • B01D2259/40Further details for adsorption processes and devices
    • B01D2259/414Further details for adsorption processes and devices using different types of adsorbents
    • B01D2259/4141Further details for adsorption processes and devices using different types of adsorbents within a single bed
    • B01D2259/4145Further details for adsorption processes and devices using different types of adsorbents within a single bed arranged in series
    • B01D2259/4146Contiguous multilayered adsorbents
    • FMECHANICAL ENGINEERING; LIGHTING; HEATING; WEAPONS; BLASTING
    • F28HEAT EXCHANGE IN GENERAL
    • F28DHEAT-EXCHANGE APPARATUS, NOT PROVIDED FOR IN ANOTHER SUBCLASS, IN WHICH THE HEAT-EXCHANGE MEDIA DO NOT COME INTO DIRECT CONTACT
    • F28D21/00Heat-exchange apparatus not covered by any of the groups F28D1/00 - F28D20/00
    • F28D2021/0019Other heat exchangers for particular applications; Heat exchange systems not otherwise provided for
    • F28D2021/0038Other heat exchangers for particular applications; Heat exchange systems not otherwise provided for for drying or dehumidifying gases or vapours
    • FMECHANICAL ENGINEERING; LIGHTING; HEATING; WEAPONS; BLASTING
    • F28HEAT EXCHANGE IN GENERAL
    • F28DHEAT-EXCHANGE APPARATUS, NOT PROVIDED FOR IN ANOTHER SUBCLASS, IN WHICH THE HEAT-EXCHANGE MEDIA DO NOT COME INTO DIRECT CONTACT
    • F28D21/00Heat-exchange apparatus not covered by any of the groups F28D1/00 - F28D20/00
    • F28D21/0015Heat and mass exchangers, e.g. with permeable walls
    • FMECHANICAL ENGINEERING; LIGHTING; HEATING; WEAPONS; BLASTING
    • F28HEAT EXCHANGE IN GENERAL
    • F28DHEAT-EXCHANGE APPARATUS, NOT PROVIDED FOR IN ANOTHER SUBCLASS, IN WHICH THE HEAT-EXCHANGE MEDIA DO NOT COME INTO DIRECT CONTACT
    • F28D7/00Heat-exchange apparatus having stationary tubular conduit assemblies for both heat-exchange media, the media being in contact with different sides of a conduit wall
    • F28D7/10Heat-exchange apparatus having stationary tubular conduit assemblies for both heat-exchange media, the media being in contact with different sides of a conduit wall the conduits being arranged one within the other, e.g. concentrically
    • F28D7/103Heat-exchange apparatus having stationary tubular conduit assemblies for both heat-exchange media, the media being in contact with different sides of a conduit wall the conduits being arranged one within the other, e.g. concentrically consisting of more than two coaxial conduits or modules of more than two coaxial conduits
    • YGENERAL TAGGING OF NEW TECHNOLOGICAL DEVELOPMENTS; GENERAL TAGGING OF CROSS-SECTIONAL TECHNOLOGIES SPANNING OVER SEVERAL SECTIONS OF THE IPC; TECHNICAL SUBJECTS COVERED BY FORMER USPC CROSS-REFERENCE ART COLLECTIONS [XRACs] AND DIGESTS
    • Y02TECHNOLOGIES OR APPLICATIONS FOR MITIGATION OR ADAPTATION AGAINST CLIMATE CHANGE
    • Y02CCAPTURE, STORAGE, SEQUESTRATION OR DISPOSAL OF GREENHOUSE GASES [GHG]
    • Y02C20/00Capture or disposal of greenhouse gases
    • Y02C20/40Capture or disposal of greenhouse gases of CO2

Abstract

Device for removing moisture and/or another substance from ambient air or from a gas, the device being configured to operate alternately in an adsorption phase and a desorption phase. The device comprises a vessel comprising an entry and an exit which comprise valves allowing the exit and entry to be opened and closed and a body of adsorption material positioned inside the vessel dividing the inside of the vessel in an upstream region and a downstream region. The device further comprises a condenser loop comprising a condenser located outside the vessel, a branch conduit which extends from the vessel to the condenser and which allows a branch flow of air or gas to flow from the downstream region to the condenser, and a condenser return conduit which extends from the condenser to the vessel and which allows the branch flow to return from the condenser to the upstream region of the vessel. The device further comprises at least one main return conduit for returning a main return flow of air or gas from the downstream region to the upstream region while bypassing the condenser.

Description

Device and method for extracting various components from ambient air or from a vapor-gas mixture, and a system for cooling air, heating air, desalination of water and/or purification of water FIELD OF THE INVENTION
The present invention relates to a method and device for extracting various components from ambient air or from vapor-gas mixture, in particular a device that is configured to operate alternately in adsorption mode and desorption mode.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
Devices for extracting various components from ambient air or from vapor-gas mixture that operate alternately in adsorption mode and desorption mode are know, in particular for extracting moisture from ambient air. Such devices are for instance described in US4285702, WO2008/018071, and US6336957.
The known devices are inefficient and/or complex in construction, with the result that such devices are not used to their full potential of application.
OBJECT OF THE INVENTION
It is an object of the invention to provide an improved device and method for extracting various components from ambient air or from vapor-gas mixture.
It is a further object of the invention to provide a device and method that in addition to the removal of moisture allows for other substances to be removed from air or from a gas, such as carbon dioxide. It is a further object of the invention to provide a system in which the improved device can be used for cooling air, for heating of air, for desalination of water and/or for water purification.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
The device according to the invention comprises: - a vessel comprising an entry and an exit which comprise valves allowing the exit and entry to be opened and closed;
- a body of adsorption material positioned inside the vessel dividing the inside of the vessel in an upstream region and a downstream region;
- a fan arranged in the vessel for blowing air or gas through the body of adsorption material from the upstream region to the downstream region;
- a heating unit for heating the air or gas that is inside the device;
- a condenser loop, the condenser loop comprising:
- a condenser located outside the vessel,
- a branch conduit which extends from the vessel to the condenser and which allows a branch flow of air or gas to flow from the downstream region to the condenser, and
- a condenser return conduit which extends from the condenser to the vessel and which allows the branch flow to return from the condenser to the upstream region of the vessel;
wherein the device further comprises:
- at least one main return conduit for returning a main return flow of air or gas from the downstream region to the upstream region while bypassing the condenser. The device according to the invention can be advantageously operated alternately in an adsorption phase and a desorption phase, wherein in the adsorption phase:
- the device is configured to open the exit and entry of the vessel by means of the valves, and to create by means of the fan a main flow entering the vessel via the entry, subsequently flowing through the body of adsorption material and exiting the vessel via the exit, wherein moisture and/or another substance is adsorbed by the adsorption material;
and wherein in the desorption phase:
- the device is configured to close the exit and entry of the vessel by means of the valves, and to create by means of the fan a main loop of repeated flow of the air or gas from the upstream region to the downstream region through the body of adsorption material and via the at least one main return conduit from the downstream region to the upstream region while heating the air or gas by means of the heating unit, thereby desorbing the one or more substances from the adsorbing material;
and wherein in the desorption phase:
- the device is configured to create a branch flow of a portion of the air or gas through the condenser loop for removing moisture from said portion of the air or gas while creating the main loop of repeated flow of the air or gas. In the device according to the invention the at least one main return conduit for returning a main return flow of air or gas from the downstream region to the upstream region bypassing the condenser thus allows in the desorption phase to lead a portion of the total body of air or gas in the vessel through the condenser to remove moisture therefrom, while the remainder of total body of air or gas bypasses the condenser. The air or gas bypassing the condenser is thus not led through a condenser, such that moisture is not removed therefrom. Moisture is only removed from the portion of the total body of air or gas in the vessel that is led through the condenser. The air or gas that bypasses the condenser is again led through the body of adsorption material, such that its moisture content thereof increases. Additionally, the air or gas that bypasses the condenser is not cooled by the condenser, such that it maintains its heat. Only the portion or air or gas that is led through the condenser and is returned inside the vessel is cooled by the condenser and has to be reheated by means of the heating element. Relative to a desorption phase in which the total body of the air circulation is led through a condenser, such as in the device described in US6336957, in the device according to the invention the higher moisture content of the air or gas that bypasses the condenser results in a higher moisture content of the total body of air or gas being circulated, and consequently to a higher moisture content of the portion of the air or gas that is led through the condenser in the branch flow. As a result of the higher moisture content, the wet bulb temperature of the air or gas led through the condenser is relatively high, which allows for a more efficient condensation.
Furthermore, since only the portion or air or gas that is led through the condenser is cooled and has to be reheated less heat has to be provided by the heating element for the desorption process to continue allowing the device to be more energy efficient.
In a preferred embodiment of the device according to the invention the device is configured to let a relatively small flow of air or gas circulate through the condenser loop relative to the main return flow through the at least one main return conduit. A small branch flow through the condenser relative to the main return flow, results in desorption phase to a relatively high moisture content of the air or gas in the vessel in a relatively short time, allowing for a particularly efficient condensation in the condenser in a relatively short time after start of the desorption phase. The ratio between the branch flow and the main return flow can be determined by ratios of the cross sections of the branch flow channel and the main return channel. Alternatively or additionally, a flow regulator, such as a valve or a fan, can be arranged in the branch flow channel to regulate the ratio between the branch flow and the main return flow. In case the ratio between the branch flow and the main return flow can be determined by ratios of the cross sections of the branch flow channel and the main return channel or by a regulator such a valve, both the main return flow and the branch flow can be driven by a single fan.
In particular the relatively high moisture content and consequently high wet bulb temperature that can be achieved, makes it possible that ambient air can be used to effectively cool the condenser. As a result an ambient air type condenser, i.e. a condenser which operates on ambient air, can effectively be used in the device according to the invention. In a preferred embodiment of the device according to the invention the condenser comprises a condenser entry for ambient air, an exchange surface for exchanging heat between the branch flow arriving through the branch channel and a flow of ambient air entering the condenser through the condenser entry, and a condenser discharge for discharging the heated ambient air. Such an ambient air type condenser is simple in construction, requires relatively little energy to operate, operates without refrigerant. In case the cross section of the opening of the exit of the vessel is large relatively to the cross sections of the branch flow channel and the main return channel, the branch flow channel and the main return channel can be kept open during adsorption phase. However valves can be provided in the branch flow channel and the main return channel by means of which the branch flow channel and the main return channel can be closed during adsorption phase and closed during desorption phase. In a preferred embodiment, the main return channel has a valve by means of which the main return channel can be selectively opened or closed.
In a preferred embodiment of the device according to the invention the at least one main return channel is arranged inside the vessel. Having the at least one main return channel inside the channel helps to keep heat inside the vessel.
In a further preferred embodiment of the device according to the invention, the body of adsorption material has a substantially tubular shape. The substantially tubular shape of the body of adsorption material results in a lower volume of adsorption material which is required, and also results in a greater surface area and lower resistance to flow. Furthermore, the tubular shape of the body of adsorption material allows for increasing the amount of adsorption material by lengthening the tubular body while the thickness of the adsorption material and thus the resistance to flow remains the same. The tubular shape may have a uniform or non-uniform diameter. The tubular shape may be conical. The vessel may comprise multiple tubular bodies of adsorption material. In a preferred embodiment, a condenser is used which operates on ambient air in cooperation with the tubular body of adsorption material. It was found in practice that a very good result is obtained with this configuration.
In a preferred embodiment of the device according to the invention having a tubular shaped body of adsorption material, the body of adsorption material is arranged as follows. A partition wall is arranged in the vessel between the entry and the exit, said partition wall dividing the inner space of the vessel in an upstream chamber and a downstream chamber, said partition wall having arranged therein an opening, and the tubular body of adsorption material is open at one end and closed at the other end by means of an end wall, wherein the open end is positioned against the partition wall such that the body of adsorption material is arranged on one side of the partition wall, and the inner region of the body is in fluid communication with the other side of the partition wall via said opening. The body is arranged either in the upstream chamber or the downstream chamber. In case the body is arranged in the upstream chamber, the upstream region surrounds the outside of the tubular body and the downstream region comprises the inner region of the tubular body, wherein the flow through the adsorption material is from the outside of the tubular body to the inner region of the tubular body. In case the body is arranged in the downstream chamber, the downstream region surrounds the outside of the tubular body and the upstream region comprises the inner region of the tubular body, wherein the flow through the adsorption material is from the inner region of the tubular body to the outside of the tubular body.
In a preferred embodiment of the thus arranged tubular shaped body of adsorption material the device further comprises a movable partition wall having openings, which is positioned within the tubular body of adsorption material, wherein the movable partition wall is movable between a closed position and an open position, wherein in the closed position the movable partition wall divides the inner region inside the tubular body in a first part and a separate second part, the first and second part being in fluid communication via openings in the movable partition wall, and wherein in the open position the first part and second part are united and together form the inner region. The movable partition wall distributes the flow over the surface area of the body of adsorption material and provides for a relatively even distribution.
In a further preferred embodiment the fan for blowing air or gas through the body of adsorption material from the upstream region to the downstream region is arranged in the opening in the partition wall. In a further preferred embodiment of the device according to the invention, the body of absorbing material comprises a first layer of a first adsorption material for adsorbing a first substance and a second layer of a second, different adsorption material for adsorbing a second substance, wherein the first and second layer form a multi-layer tubular body. This allows for the removal of several different substances. Since, as described herein above, the tubular shape allows for increasing the amount of adsorption material by increasing the length of the tubular body, a multi-layer tubular body can be created with a relatively low resistance to flow.
In a further preferred embodiment of the device according to the invention wherein the body of adsorption material has a first layer of a first adsorption material for adsorbing a first substance and a second layer of a second, different adsorption material for adsorbing a second substance, the device further comprises a docking station for a container, wherein the docking station is connected to the vessel via a discharge conduit and comprises a pump for pumping the contents of the vessel, in particular air or gas which comprises one or more undesired substances, such as carbon dioxide, into the container. This allows for disposal of the one or more undesired substances adsorbed in the adsorption material in the adsorption phase and desorbed from the adsorption material to the air or gas in the vessel in the desorption phase, without releasing the air or gas in the vessel at the end of the desorption phase in the surroundings.
In a preferred embodiment of the device according to the invention the heating unit is arranged in the vessel, preferably in the upstream region. In a preferred embodiment, the heating unit comprises a closed conduit system which is connectable to a source of heated fluid, wherein preferably wherein the conduit is physically separated from the body of adsorption material. It is noted that the heating unit itself thus does not necessarily generates the heat. Alternatively or additionally the heat unit comprises a low voltage electrical heating system of wires which extend through the body of adsorption material.
In a further preferred embodiment of the device according to the invention the branch conduit of the condenser loop has an entry opening in the downstream region of the vessel and the condenser return conduit of the condenser loop has an exit opening in the upstream region of the vessel. This in particular allows the use of a single fan for creating both the main return flow and the branch flow.
In a further preferred embodiment of the device according to the invention, the device further comprises a vortex tube which is provided in the condenser loop and positioned downstream from the condenser, the vortex tube comprising a vortex tube entry where air or gas under pressure coming from the condenser is fed into, a cold air exit for cold air and a hot air exit for hot air, wherein the cold air exit is connected to the air entry of the condenser and wherein the hot air exit exits into the vessel. The vortex tube improves the performance in particular when the air or gas has a relatively low moisture content. The cold air from the vortex tube may be mixed with ambient air prior to entering the condenser. Further features and benefits of the device according to the invention are described herein below under reference to further embodiments of a device according to the invention.
In an embodiment of the device according to the invention, the device comprises:
- a vessel comprising an entry and an exit which comprise valves allowing the exit and entry to be opened and closed,
- a body of adsorption material positioned inside the vessel, the body having a substantially tubular shape,
wherein the vessel has an upstream region which is located upstream from the body of adsorption material and wherein the vessel has a downstream region which is located downstream from the body of adsorption material, wherein the device further comprises:
- a fan for blowing air or gas through the body of adsorption material from the upstream region to the downstream region,
wherein the device is configured to create a main flow during the adsorption phase, the main flow entering the vessel via the entry, subsequently flowing through the body of adsorption material and exiting the vessel via the exit, wherein moisture and/or another substance is adsorbed by the adsorption material,
the device further comprising:
- a heating unit for heating the air or gas inside the device during the desorption phase,
- at least one main return conduit for returning a main return flow of air or gas from the downstream region to the upstream region during the desorption phase, creating a main loop of repeated flow through the body of adsorption material during the desorption phase,
- a condenser loop for extracting moisture during the desorption phase, the condenser loop comprising:
- a condenser,
- a branch conduit which extends from the vessel to the condenser and which allows a branch flow to flow from the vessel to the condenser,
- a condenser return conduit which extends from the condenser to the vessel and in use returns the branch flow from the condenser to the vessel. The present invention may be used to remove particular carbon dioxide from a gas, for instance an exhaust gas. The present invention may be used in mobile and stationary power plants, gas and oil processing plants. The device of the invention may be used for processing exhaust gasses from combustion of combustible gas, gasoline and heavy fuels.
The device according to the invention is capable of protecting the environment by reducing the emission of harmful gases into the atmosphere. In a separate or simultaneous application, the device according to the invention can extract clean drinking water in most regions of the world.
As will be explained further below, the device according to the invention may be used for different purposes, for instance in a larger system for air-conditioning, for heating air, for water purification or air and/or for water desalination. The system may combine these functions in a single system or be a dedicated system, which is oriented at performing one of these functions only.
The air or gas generally comprises vapor and can be regarded as a gas-vapor mixture.
Simplicity is one of the key advantages of the present invention. The simplicity makes the device very practical.
In a combination with a source of gas and a source of residual energy, the operational costs of the present invention are very low.
The present invention may be used for extracting various components from ambient air or from vapor-gas mixture. The device is configured to operate alternately in adsorption mode and desorption mode.
One of the substances which may be removed from air or from a gas is carbon dioxide. Carbon dioxide is known to be greenhouse gas. The continuous exhaust of carbon dioxide is having effects on our climate and will continue to do so. For that reason, it is preferable not to discharge carbon dioxide into the surroundings. There is a need for improved devices for reducing carbon dioxide.
In another field of use, the present invention may be used to provide drinking water. Many areas on the planet experience severe shortages or a complete lack of drinking water. Therefore, there is a need for improved devices for providing drinking water. The present invention may be provided in a dual arrangement, i.e. with two vessels, which alternately operate in adsorption phase and desorption phase. The condenser may be shared by the two vessels and alternately take in air from one vessel or from the other vessel. In this way only a single condenser needs to be present and the condenser may function full time.
In an embodiment, the condenser loop is closed, i.e. no air or gas is discharged into the surroundings from the condenser loop.
The substantially tubular shape of the body of adsorption material results in a lower volume of adsorption material which is required, and also results in a greater surface area and lower resistance to flow.
The air or gas in the vessel is circulated through the condenser loop. The dry air or gas coming from the condenser re-enters the vessel each time and requires relatively little heating for the desorption process to continue.
In an embodiment, no extra air or gas needs to be entered into the vessel during the desorption phase. In an embodiment, both the main return flow and the branch flow are driven by a single fan.
In an embodiment, the present invention uses a condenser which operates on ambient air. This results in a simpler and more cost-effective device which uses less energy. Also, the condenser is suitable to be operated at relatively high temperatures which facilitates processing of exhaust gases.
Hence, in a preferred embodiment of the device according to the present invention the combination of:
1) a simple condenser cooled by ambient air, and
2) the recirculation of the air or gas back into the vessel
provides the benefit of a simple device having an easier construction and a lower energy consumption, in particular during the desorption phase.
In an embodiment, a condenser is used which operates on ambient air in cooperation with the tubular body of adsorption material. It was found in practice that a very good result is obtained with this configuration. In an embodiment, an outside heat source is used to heat the air or gas inside the vessel during the desorption phase. In a very useful application, the present invention is used in combination with a source which provides both an exhaust gas and residual heat. In
this application, the residual heat can be used for heating the contents of the vessel during the desorption phase. The source may be a power plant, hydrocarbon processing plant or other kind of installation.
In an embodiment, the body of adsorption material has a length and a diameter which is uniform over said length. This further simplifies the system according to the invention.
In an embodiment, the upstream region is located outside the substantially tubular body and at least a part of the downstream region, named the inner region, is located inside the substantially tubular body. It was found that this is a very efficient configuration and allows a further simplification of the device.
In an embodiment, the device comprises a downstream chamber and an
adsorption/desorption chamber. The downstream chamber being separated from the
adsorption/desorption chamber by a partition wall, and being fluidly connected to the inner region of the tubular body of adsorption material via an opening in the partition wall, wherein the fan is provided in said opening. At least one branch conduit starts in said downstream chamber.
The downstream chamber may be provided at one end of a cylindrical vessel, and be defined by a partition wall from the rest of the cylindrical vessel.
In an embodiment, the branch conduit has an entry opening which is provided in the wall of the downstream chamber.
In an embodiment, the device comprises a plurality of main return conduits, wherein the main return conduits start at the downstream region and extend parallel to a main axis of the tubular body of adsorption material, wherein the return conduits have discharge openings which are located near an end of the tubular body of adsorption material.
In an embodiment, the exit is provided in an outer wall of the downstream chamber. In an embodiment, the device further comprises a movable partition wall which is positioned within the tubular body of adsorption material, the movable partition wall comprising openings, wherein the movable partition wall is movable between a closed position and an open position, wherein in the closed position the movable partition wall substantially divides the inner region inside the tubular body in a first part and a separate second part. The first and second part being connected via openings in the movable partition wall, and wherein in the open position the first part and second part are united and together form the inner region.
In an embodiment, the condenser comprises a condenser entry for ambient air, a fan, an exchange surface for exchanging heat between a branch flow arriving through the branch channel and a flow of ambient air entering the condenser through the condenser entry, and a condenser discharge for discharging the heated ambient air.
In an embodiment, the device comprises at least a first layer of a first adsorption material for adsorbing a first substance and a second layer of a second, different adsorption material for adsorbing a second substance, wherein the first and second layer form a multi-layer tubular body, the device further comprising a docking station for a container, wherein the docking station is connected to the vessel via a discharge conduit and comprises a pump for pumping the contents of the vessel, in particular air or gas which comprises one or more undesired substances such as carbon dioxide, into the container.
The present invention is in particular suitable to adsorb moisture and another substance during the adsorption phase, followed by a desorption phase which comprises:
- first desorbing the moisture and the other substance from the desorption material and condensing the moisture, and
- subsequently pumping out the remaining gas or air including the other substance into the container.
The other substance may in particular be carbon dioxide.
In another embodiment, the body of adsorption material comprises materials to adsorb moisture, carbon dioxide and monoxide.
In an embodiment, the heating unit comprises a closed conduit system which is connected to a source of heated fluid, wherein the conduit is physically separated from the body of adsorption material. In an embodiment, the entry of the device is connected to a gas source, and the heat source of the heating system and said gas source form part of a common source device. The common source device may in particular be a power plant, a heat plant, a hydrocarbon processing plant, or a factory.
In an embodiment, the condenser does not comprise any heat pump. In an embodiment, the device does not comprise any cold storage. The absence of a heat pump and/or cold storage may further simplify the present invention.
In an embodiment, the device does not comprise any pre-cooling device for cooling the air or gas which enters the vessel via the entry. The absence of a pre-cooling device further simplifies the present invention.
In an embodiment, the condenser return channel of the condenser loop branches into a water channel for discharging the water from the device and a condenser gas return channel which ends in the vessel. The water may be captured in a reservoir and re -used. In an embodiment, the upstream region extends around the tubular body of adsorption material. It was found that this results in a simple construction in combination with
an efficient flow pattern.
In an embodiment, a cooling device is provided upstream of the entry, in order to cool the incoming gas flow during adsorption and facilitate the adsorption process. A filter may also be provided upstream of the entry in order to clean the incoming gas flow.
The present invention further relates to a method of removing moisture or another substance from ambient air or from a gas, in particular an exhaust gas, the method comprising:
- providing a device comprising
- a vessel having positioned therein a body of adsorption material, said vessel further having an entry and an exit; and
- a condenser;
- operating said device alternately in an adsorption phase and a desorption phase, wherein
- during the adsorption phase: - feeding ambient air or gas into the entry and through the body of adsorption material;
- adsorbing moisture and/or another substance from the air or gas by adsorption material; and
- discharging the air or gas through the exit,
when the adsorption material is saturated, switching to the desorption phase, and during the desorption phase:
- closing the entry and the exit,
- repeatedly circulating the air or gas through the body of
adsorption material in a main loop of repeated flow bypassing the condenser while heating the air or gas, thereby desorbing the one or more substances from the
adsorption material, and
- while circulating the air or gas through the body of adsorption material in a main loop of repeated flow bypassing the condenser, circulating a portion of the air or gas from the vessel through a condenser located outside the vessel for removing moisture and returning the dried air or gas into the vessel after the condensation.
In the method according to the invention in the desorption phase only a portion of the total body of air or gas in the vessel is led through the condenser to remove moisture therefrom, while the remainder of total body of air or gas bypasses the condenser. The air or gas bypassing the condenser is thus not led through a condenser, such that moisture is not removed therefrom.
Moisture is only removed from the portion of the total body of air or gas in the vessel that is led through the condenser. The air or gas that bypasses the condenser is again led through the body of adsorption material, such that its moisture content thereof increases. Additionally, the air or gas that bypasses the condenser is not cooled by the condenser, such that it maintains its heat. Only the portion or air or gas that is led through the condenser and is returned inside the vessel is cooled by the condenser and has to be reheated by means of the heating element.
The method according to the invention is advantageous over known methods in which the total body of the air circulation is led through a condenser, such as described in US6336957. The method provides substantially the same advantages as the device according to the invention as described herein above.
In a preferred embodiment of the method according to the invention a relatively small flow of air or gas is circulated through the condenser loop relative to the main loop of repeated flow of the air or gas in the vessel. In a further preferred embodiment of the method according to the invention the condenser is cooled by ambient air. As described herein above with respect to the device according to the invention, this allows for the use of an ambient air type condenser, which type of condenser is simple in construction, requires relatively little energy to operate, operates without refrigerant.
In a further preferred embodiment of the method according to the invention
- during the adsorption phase moisture is adsorbed in a first layer of a first adsorption material and a second substance is adsorbed in a second layer of a second, different adsorption material; and
- during the desorption phase first moisture is removed from the air or
gas inside the vessel and subsequently the air or gas is pumped out of the vessel in a container.
This allows for the removal of other undesired substances, such as carbon dioxide, in addition to the removal of moisture.
In a further preferred embodiment of the method according to the invention the entry of the vessel is connected to a gas source, wherein in the desorption phase residual heat is used from a heat source, and wherein the heat source and the gas source form part of a common source device in particular a power plant, a heat plant, a hydrocarbon, processing plant, or a factory, and wherein during the adsorption phase gas from the gas source is fed into the vessel, and wherein during desorption phase heat, in particular residual heat, from the heat source is used to heat the air or gas inside the vessel.
Further features and benefits of the method according to the invention are described herein below under reference to further embodiments of a method according to the invention.
In an embodiment, the method comprises providing a movable partition wall having openings in said wall, the movable partition wall being positioned within the tubular body of adsorption material, wherein in the desorption phase the movable partition wall is moved to a closed position in which it divides the space inside the tubular body in a first part and a second part which are in connection with one another via the openings in the movable partition wall, and wherein in the adsorption phase the movable partition wall is moved to an
open position in which the first part and second part are united. The movable partition wall distributes the flow over the surface area of the body of adsorption material and provides for a relatively even distribution. In an embodiment, the body of adsorption material comprises a first layer of adsorption material for adsorbing a first substance and a second layer of a second, different adsorption material for adsorbing a second substance, wherein the first and second layer form a multi-layer tubular body. The device further comprises a docking station for a container, wherein the docking station is connected to the vessel via a discharge conduit and comprises a pump for pumping the contents of the vessel, in particular air or gas which comprises one or more undesired substances such as carbon dioxide, into the container. The method comprises: at the end of the desorption stage, pumping the air or gas which is inside the vessel into the container.
In an embodiment the first material is chosen to absorb moisture. The desorption stage comprises first removing the moisture from the air or gas inside the vessel and subsequently pumping the air or gas into the container. In this way, exhaust of substances such as carbon dioxide into the atmosphere can be substantially reduced.
In an embodiment, the device comprises a vortex tube positioned downstream from the condenser in the condenser loop, wherein during the desorption phase at last a part of the air or gas from the condenser is fed into the vortex tube and split into a cold flow and a warm or hot flow, the cold flow being returned as coolant to the condenser and the hot flow being returned to the vessel.
The device and method of the invention may be used in mobile and stationary power plants, and in plant for processing hydrocarbons such as oil and gas.
The device and method according to the invention allow for extracting clean water from ambient air or gases, and can reduce the exhaust of harmful gases into the atmosphere. The device according to the invention does so with simple means and configuration.
The present invention further relates to a system for cooling air, heating air, desalination of water and/or water purification, the system comprising two devices according to the invention as described herein above as a dehumidifier, wherein the devices are configured to operate alternately in adsorption mode and desorption mode.
By alternately operating the devices in adsorption mode and desorption mode a continuous process of cooling air, heating air, desalination of water and/or water purification can be achieved. Furthermore, as will be described herein below, using two device according to the invention as a dehumidifier allows for a particularly energy efficient system for cooling air, heating air, desalination of water and/or water purification.
In a preferred embodiment of the system according to the invention the devices share a single condenser which alternates between the vessels of the devices. This is possible since the device are operated alternately in adsorption mode and desorption mode, and the condenser is only used in desorption mode.
In a preferred embodiment of the system according to the invention:
- the system comprises a primary air channel;
wherein
- the dehumidifier is arranged in the primary air channel, wherein the dehumidifier comprises:
- a primary air inlet fluidly connecting the inlet of the vessel of each device to an upstream part of the primary air channel; and
- a primary air outlet fluidly connecting the exit of the vessel of each device to downstream part of the primary air channel;
and wherein
- the system further comprises an evaporative air cooling device arranged downstream of the dehumidifier and connected to the primary air outlet via the primary air channel.
In a further preferred embodiment of the system according to the invention, the evaporative air cooling device comprises:
- a first, indirect evaporative air cooler along the primary air channel in which dried air from the dehumidifier is cooled indirectly, and
- a second, direct evaporative air cooler, the direct evaporative air cooler being arranged downstream from the indirect evaporative air cooler along the primary air channel. In a further preferred embodiment of the system according to the invention the indirect evaporative air cooler comprises:
- a regenerative air channel which is fed with a regenerative air flow to be used as a coolant, wherein the regenerative air channel is branched off from the primary air channel at a branch off point,
- an evaporative water distribution system for distributing evaporative water in the regenerative air channel for cooling the regenerative air flow, - a heat exchange surface placed between the primary air channel and the regenerative air channel for conducting heat from the primary air flow to the regenerative air flow.
In a further preferred embodiment, the system comprises a third, auxiliary air cooler for cooling the regenerative air flow with an auxiliary air flow, wherein the third, auxiliary air cooler comprises:
- an auxiliary air inlet for the auxiliary air flow, an auxiliary air channel and an auxiliary air outlet for the auxiliary air flow,
- an auxiliary evaporative water distribution system for distributing an evaporative water in the auxiliary air channel for cooling the auxiliary air flow,
- a heat exchange surface placed between the auxiliary air channel and the regenerative air channel for conducting heat from the regenerative air flow to the auxiliary air flow,
wherein the regenerative air flow cools the primary air flow and is simultaneously cooled itself by the auxiliary air flow.
It was found that the auxiliary air cooler allows a more effective cooling, and in the end lower temperatures of the air and/or a better energy efficiency.
In a further preferred embodiment, the system comprises a heat exchanger comprising: - a heat exchanger air inlet which is connected to the auxiliary air flow outlet of the third, auxiliary air cooler,
- a heat exchanger air outlet which is connected via a return channel to the
primary air channel at a return point upstream of the dehumidifier,
- a heat exchanger coolant inlet which branches off from the primary air channel downstream of the second, direct evaporative air cooler.
The extra heat exchanger may increase the efficiency during cooling and/or may increase the recovery of water during desalination and water purification. In an embodiment of the system according to the invention the system is configured for an air cooling mode of warm humid air, wherein a primary air flow is taken from
a space to be cooled via an air return opening, guided through the dehumidifier and through the evaporative air cooling device.. In an additional or alternative embodiment of the system according to the invention the system is configured for an air cooling mode for warm dry air, wherein a primary air flow is taken from a space to be cooled, bypasses the dehumidifier via a bypass channel, and is guided through the evaporative air cooling device..
In an additional or alternative embodiment of the system according to the invention the system is configured for an air heating mode, wherein outside air which enters the system via an air intake is supplied to an evaporator, wherein the evaporator is fed with warm water which is recovered in a desorption cycle of the dehumidifier, and wherein the heated and humidified primary air flow from the evaporator is dehumidified and heated in an desorption step in the dehumidifier.
In an additional or alternative embodiment of the system according to the invention the system is configured for a desalinisation or purification mode, wherein saline water is supplied to the evaporator where it is evaporated in a primary air flow, thereby moistening the primary air flow, and wherein the moistened primary air flow is dried in a compartment of the dehumidifier by adsorption of the moisture to the adsorption material, and wherein subsequently the compartment is switched to desorption mode, wherein during the desorption mode the moisture is recovered in a condenser of the dehumidifier and discharged into a tank.
In a particularly preferred embodiment the system is configured to operate in more than one of the above described operating modes, and is preferably configured to switch between the operating modes.
Further features and benefits of the system according to the invention are described herein below under reference to further embodiments of a method according to the invention.
In an embodiment, the system comprises:
- a return channel returning from the space which is to be air-conditioned, and
- an intake for ambient air, wherein the intake merges with the return channel from the space for creating a mixture of ambient air and return air,
wherein the return channel is connected to the auxiliary air inlet of the auxiliary air cooler, wherein the auxiliary air flow comprises ambient air, air from the space to be cooled or a mixture thereof.
The possibility of mixing creates a versatile system which can be adapted to varying circumstances. In an embodiment, the system comprises a regenerative air outlet which discharges into the auxiliary air channel, wherein the regenerative air flow merges with the auxiliary air flow. It was found that in this way the cooled regenerative air flow may still be used and does not need to be discarded.
In an embodiment, the first air cooler, second air cooler and third air cooler form an integrated device. The integrated device is easy to install and operate and very efficient.
In an embodiment, at least a substantial part of the regenerative air channel is located between a primary air channel of the first, indirect evaporative air cooler and an auxiliary air channel of the third, auxiliary air cooler.
In an embodiment, the primary air channel of the first, indirect evaporative air cooler, the regenerative air flow channel and the auxiliary air flow channel are arranged concentrically. It was found that this configuration is very effective for cooling.
In an embodiment, the system comprises:
- an air filter positioned upstream of the dehumidifier, and downstream of an
intake of ambient air,
- an evaporator positioned upstream of the dehumidifier and downstream of the air filter,
- a direct return channel which extends from the space to be air-conditioned to the primary air channel at a merge point upstream of the dehumidifier,
- a bypass channel which bypasses the dehumidifier from a point in the primary air channel upstream of the dehumidifier to a point downstream of the dehumidifier, the bypass channel comprising a valve for opening and closing the bypass channel, and
- at least one fan in the primary air channel for driving the primary air flow through the primary air channel. The components provide the benefit that the system can be used for cooling dry air, for heating air, and for desalination and water purification.
In an embodiment, the system comprises:
- a water collecting tank for collecting water from the dehumidifier and the heat exchanger, and - a water channel extending between the water collecting tank and respectively the air cooling device for transporting water from the water collecting tank to the first, second and third air coolers.
The recovered water can advantageously be put to use in the evaporative cooler device.
In an embodiment, a branch off point for the regenerative air flow is located in the direct evaporative cooler, in particular downstream of a first region of direct evaporative cooling and upstream of a second region of direct evaporative cooling. Advantageously, the branch off flow is cooled by direct evaporation prior to being branched off and will be cooler as a result.
In an embodiment, the device is free of any compressor and free of the use of a refrigerant.
In an embodiment of this method, the first, indirect evaporative air cooler is an indirect regenerative air cooler using a regenerative air flow which is branched off from the primary air flow, and wherein the regenerative air flow is simultaneously cooled with a third auxiliary air flow which comprises ambient air, air from a space to be cooled or a mixture thereof.
The present invention further relates to an air cooling device comprising:
- a first, regenerative indirect evaporative air cooler comprising:
- a primary air channel for conveying a primary air flow between a primary air inlet and a primary air outlet,
- a regenerative air channel which is fed with a regenerative air flow to be used as a coolant, wherein the regenerative air channel is branched off from the primary air channel at a branch off point,
- an evaporative water distribution system for distributing an evaporative water in the regenerative air channel for cooling the regenerative air flow,
- a heat exchange surface placed between the primary air channel and the regenerative air channel for conducting heat from the primary air flow to the regenerative air flow,
- a second, direct evaporative air cooler, the direct evaporative air cooler device being arranged downstream from the indirect evaporative air cooler and coupled to the primary air outlet of the indirect evaporative air cooler,
- a third, auxiliary air cooler for cooling the regenerative air flow with an auxiliary air flow, wherein the third, auxiliary air cooler comprises: - an auxiliary air inlet for the auxiliary air flow, an auxiliary air channel, and an auxiliary air outlet for the auxiliary air flow,
- an auxiliary evaporative water distribution system for distributing an evaporative water in the auxiliary air channel for cooling the auxiliary air flow,
- a heat exchange surface placed between the auxiliary air channel and the regenerative air channel for conducting heat from the regenerative air flow to the auxiliary air flow.
The air cooling device is a component of the system which in itself was found to be very efficient in cooling the primary air flow and moreover a very practical device.
In an embodiment of the air cooling device, the first air cooler, second air cooler and third air cooler form an integrated air cooling device.
In an embodiment of the air cooling device, at least a substantial part of the regenerative air channel is located between a primary air channel of the first, indirect evaporative air cooler and an auxiliary air channel of the third, auxiliary air cooler.
In an embodiment of the air cooling device, the primary air channel of the first, indirect evaporative air cooler, the regenerative air flow channel and the auxiliary air flow channel are arranged concentrically.
These and other aspects of the invention will be more readily appreciated as the same becomes better understood by reference to the following detailed description and considered in connection with the accompanying drawings in which like reference symbols designate like parts.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE FIGURES
Figure 1 shows a cross section in side view of a first embodiment of the invention in adsorption phase.
Figure 2 shows a top view of the first embodiment.
Figure 3 shows a cross section in side view of the first embodiment in desorption phase.
Figure 4 shows a top view of the first embodiment.
Figure 5 shows a cross section in side view of a second embodiment of the invention in desorption phase. Figure 6 shows a top view of the second embodiment.
Figure 7 shows a diagrammatic configuration of the device according to the invention with a source.
Figure 8 shows a schematic view of another embodiment of the invention.
Figure 9 shows a schematic cross sectional side view of a part of the embodiment of figure 8.
Figure 10 shows a schematic cross sectional top view of a part of the embodiment of figure 8.
Figure 11 shows a schematic isometric view of an embodiment of a cooling device according to the invention.
Figure 12 shows a psychometric chart of a first operating mode of the embodiment of figure 8.
Figure 13 shows a psychometric chart of a second operating mode of the embodiment of figure 8.
Figure 14 shows a psychometric chart of a third operating mode of the embodiment of figure 8.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE FIGURES
Turning to figures 1, 2, 3 and 4, a device 1 according to the invention is shown. The device is intended for removing moisture or another substance from ambient air or from a vapor-gas mixture. The gas may in particular be an exhaust gas from a power plant or factory. The device is configured to operate alternately in adsorption phase and desorption phase.
The device comprises a vessel 20. The vessel is cylindrical and may have a substantial vertical central axis 19. The vessel 20 has a uniform diameter and has a bottom end and a top end and a circumferential wall 21. The vessel comprises an entry 6 A which is provided in the lower end. The vessel comprises an exit 6 which is located in the upper end. The entry 6A and the exit 6 having closing gates 150 (also indicated as valves) which can be operated to open or close the entry 6A and the exit 6. The gates are shown in figure 7.
Inside the vessel is a body 4 of adsorption material. The body has a substantial tubular shape, i.e. having an annular cross-section. The body comprises a reticulate mesh. The tubular shape is parallel with the vessel, in particular coaxial. The tubular shape has a length 28 and a diameter 29. The body has a thickness 31 which is also uniform. The diameter 29 is uniform over the length. Adsorption materials for moisture are known and may comprise zeolite, silica gel, lithium, activated carbon, salts and other materials. The adsorption material is sometimes indicated as desiccant material.
At the lower end (also referred to as upstream end) of the body 4, an end wall 33 is provided which closes off the lower end of the body. The upper end 452 (also referred to as downstream end 452) is positioned against a partition wall 8. The device further comprises a condenser 10. The condenser is of a type which is cooled by ambient air. The condenser is located outside the vessel 20 and is connected to the vessel via a branch conduit 9 and a condenser return conduit 10A. The condenser has an air entry 50 for ambient air and an air exit 54. Inside the condenser there is an exchange surface via which the ambient air can cool the flow arriving in the condenser through the branch conduit 9.
The vessel has an upstream region 22 which is located upstream from the body of adsorption material. The upstream region extends around the body 4 and extends over an area between the entry 6 A and the end wall 33. The vessel 20 has a downstream region 24 which is located downstream from the body 4 of adsorption material and comprises two parts 24A and 24B.
A first part 24A of the downstream region 24 is located in a downstream chamber 30 which is separated from the rest of the vessel by a partition wall 8. An opening 34 is provided in the partition wall and a fan 5 is provided in said opening.
The entry 6a, the fan 5 and the exit 6 are coaxial.
The downstream chamber is fluidly connected to the inner region 24B of the tubular body of adsorption material via the opening 34.
A second part 24B of the downstream region, named the inner region 24B, is located inside the substantially tubular body and upstream of the fan 5. A movable partition wall 15, also referred to as a gate 15, is provided in the inner region. The gate can be operated to substantially divide the inner region 24A in two parts, a first part 48 and a second part 49. The partition wall is not closed but comprises openings which allow the passage of air or gas from lower part 49 to upper part 48. The movable partition wall 15 creates a flow which is more evenly spread over the surface area of the body 4.
The device further comprises at least one main return conduit 7 for returning air or gas from the downstream region to the upstream region in the desorption phase. This will be elucidated further below.
The device further comprises the fan 5 for blowing air or gas through the body 4 of adsorption material from the upstream region 22 to the downstream region 24.
The device further comprises a heating unit 14 for heating the air or gas inside the device. The heating unit comprises a system of closed circuit conduits 70 through which a heating fluid can run. The conduits are located in the upstream region 22 of the vessel 20. The device further comprises a condenser loop 26 which comprises the condenser 10, the branch conduit (9) which extends from the vessel to the condenser, and the condenser return conduit (10A) which extends from the condenser back to the vessel. The condenser loop 26 is configured to let a relatively small flow of air or gas run from the downstream chamber 30 through the condenser and back to the upstream region 22 of the vessel 20 during the desorption phase. In this embodiment, the condenser loop is closed, i.e. no air or gas is discharged into the surroundings in the condenser loop.
The branch conduit 9 has an entry opening 40 which is provided in the wall of the downstream chamber 30.
The device comprises one or more or in particular a plurality of main return conduits 7. The main return conduits 7 start at the downstream chamber 30. Valves 41 are provided to open and/or close the main return conduits 7. The main return conduits extend parallel to the main axis 19 and extend parallel to the tubular body 4 of adsorption material.
The main return conduits have discharge openings 42 which are located near an end 44 of the tubular body of adsorption material. It is also possible that a single main return conduit is provided, which for instance extends along the outer side of the vessel 20. The exit 6 of the device is provided in an outer wall 46 of the downstream chamber.
The end wall forms the end face of the vessel 20. The device further comprises a movable partition wall 15 which is positioned within the tubular body 4 of adsorption material. The movable partition wall comprises openings. The movable partition wall 15 is movable between a closed position and an open position.
The movable partition wall is mounted on an axis 25 which extends at right angles with the main axis 19 and extends through the vessel wall 21. The axis 25 is rotatable from the outside.
In the closed position, the movable partition wall divides the inner region 24B inside the tubular body in a first part 48 and a separate second part 49. The first and second part have roughly the same size. In the open position, the first part 48 and second part 49 are united and together form the inner region 24B.
The condenser 10 comprises a condenser entry 50 for ambient air, a fan 11, an exchange surface 52 for exchanging heat between a branch flow arriving through the branch channel 9 and a flow of ambient air entering the condenser through the condenser entry, and a condenser discharge 54 for discharging the heated ambient air.
The device may be used to extract multiple substances from the air or gas. To this end, the body 4 may comprise multiple different adsorption materials. In an advantageous embodiment the multiple materials are arranged as concentric layers 4 A, 4B.
A first layer 4A of a first adsorption material for adsorbing a first substance is provided around a second layer 4B of a second, different adsorption material for adsorbing a second substance. The first and second layer form a multi-layer tubular body.
The device further comprises a docking station 60 for a container 62. The docking station is connected to the vessel via a discharge conduit 64. The docking station comprises a pump 66 for pumping the contents of the vessel, in particular air or gas which comprises one or more undesired substances such as carbon dioxide, into the container.
When the container is full, a second empty container can be connected to the docking station. The heating unit 14 comprises a closed conduit system 70 which is connected to a source 71 of heated fluid, which is discussed in relation to figure 7 below. The closed conduit system 70 is physically separated from the body 4 of adsorption material. The heating unit 14 may additionally or alternatively comprises a low voltage electrical heating system of wires which extend through the body of adsorption material. In use, an electrical current may be passed through the wires, thereby making the process more efficient.
The condenser 10 does not comprise any heat pump. This results in a very simple system.
The device 1 does not comprise any cold storage. It was recognized that cold storage makes the system overly complicated and less efficient.
In an embodiment, the device 1 does not comprise any pre-cooling device for cooling the air or gas which enters the vessel via the entry 6A. This is not required in many situations and further simplifies the system.
The condenser return channel 10A of the condenser loop branches into a water channel 78 for discharging the water from the device and a condenser gas return channel 80 which ends in the vessel. The water channel 78 discharges into a reservoir 12. The water may be used in the evaporative cooler or for other purposes, such as drinking or irrigation.
The upstream region 22 extends around the tubular body 4 of adsorption material and also extends in the area between an end wall 45 of the vessel 20, the entry 6A and the end wall 33 of the body 4.
In use, the device 1 is operated as follows. Figures 1 and 2 show the adsorption phase. In adsorption phase, air or gas is fed through the entry 6 A as shown by arrows 100. The air or gas may have a temperature of 10°C to 45°C.
The air or gas is distributed throughout the upstream region 22 as indicated by arrows 102. The driving force behind the flow is the fan 5. The air or gas subsequently flows through the tubular body 4 of adsorption material. The adsorption materials adsorb moisture and/or another substance from the air or gas and gradually become saturated with the moisture and other substances. The gas subsequently enters the inner region and flows through the opening 34 into the downstream chamber 30.
The air or gas subsequently exits the device via the exit 6. Upon exiting, the air or gas may have a temperature of 15°C- 50°C. This is higher than the temperature at entry, which is caused by the energy which is released by the adsorption process.
Turning to figures 3 and 4, when the adsorption materials are completely saturated, the device 1 is switched to desorption phase. The entry 6a and the exit 6 are closed. The movable partition wall 15 is also closed, dividing the inner region in two parts 48, 49 but allowing a flow from the second part 49 to the first part 48 through openings in the movable partition wall 15.
The fan 51 of the condenser 10 is turned on and blows ambient air over the exchange surface 52. The fan 5 sucks air or gas from the inner region 24B and pumps it into the downstream chamber 30.
From the downstream chamber, two separate flows flow to the upper region. A main return flow flows via the main return channels 7 from the downstream region to the upstream region. The main return flow is indicated by arrows 106. A branch flow flows through the opening 40 into the branch flow channel 9. The branch flow 108 may be substantially smaller than the main return flow 106. The ratio between the branch flow and the return flow can be determined by the ratios of the cross sections of the branch flow channel 9 and the main return channels 7. Account will have to be taken for the resistance inside the channels, in particular the resistance over the condenser 10.
Both the main return flow 106 and the branch flow 108 are driven by the single fan 5. In another embodiment, a separate fan may be provided inside the branch flow channel 9 to more accurately control both flows. Also, the heating system is turned on and a heated fluid flows through the closed conduit system 70. The air or gas inside the vessel is gradually heated to a target temperature.
The branch flow flows through the condenser 10. In the condenser, moisture is removed from the air or gas. The moisture is collected in the reservoir 12. At the same time the main return flow 106 circulates through the body 4 of adsorption material and desorbs moisture and other components from the body 4. Gradually, all adsorbed substances are desorbed from the body of adsorption material.
The moisture is collected in the reservoir 12. Other substances such as carbon dioxide are contained in the air or gas inside the vessel. This condition is maintained for a certain period of time.
When the moisture has been removed from the air or gas, the pump 66 of the docking station 60 is turned on. The air or gas inside the vessel is pumped into the container 62 with pump 66. If the container is not large enough, the pump 66 is turned off and a second container is docked into the docking station and the pumping is resumed. An under pressure is created inside the vessel and an over pressure is created inside the one or more containers. The docking station 60 is optional. If no carbon dioxide or other components need to be removed, it may be left out. The pumping may continue for another period of time, referred to as the third period
The second and third period may coincide, or overlap or the third period may occur after the second period is over, i.e. the condenser may be turned off during the third period.
In the desorption phase the movable partition wall is moved to a closed position in which it divides the space inside the tubular body in a first part 48 and a second part 49 and in the adsorption phase the movable partition wall is moved to an open position in which the first part and second part are united.
Turning to figures 5 and 6, another embodiment is shown in which the device comprises a vortex tube 18, i.e. a Ranque-Hilsch vortex tube, which is provided in the condenser loop 26 and positioned downstream from the condenser 10. The vortex tube 18 is a device known per se. A vortex tube divides an incoming flow into two outgoing flows, a cold outgoing flow and a warm or hot outgoing flow. The exact principle which underlies a vortex tube 18 is not completely known, but it works and is a very simple device without any moving parts.
The vortex tube comprises a vortex tube entry 82 in which air or gas are supplied under pressure. The condenser return channel 10A bifurcates at a bifurcation point 120 into the vortex tube entry 82 and the regular condenser return channel 10A. The vortex tube further comprises a cold air exit 83 for cold air and a hot air exit 84 for hot air. In the vortex tube, the flow from the condenser enters via conduit 82 and is injected tangentially into a swirl chamber and accelerated to a high rate of rotation. Due to a conical nozzle at the end of the tube, only the outer shell of the compressed gas is allowed to escape at that end as hot exit 84. The remainder of the gas is forced to return in an inner vortex of reduced diameter within the outer vortex and exits via the cold exit 83.
The cold air exit 83 is connected to the air entry 50 of the condenser. In use, a cold flow 130 from the vortex tube is fed into the condenser. The hot air exit 84 merges with the return channel and exits into the vessel. In use, the air or gas from the cold air exit may be as cold as - 40°C to -5 °C. In use, the flow from the hot air exit 84 may reach temperatures of 80°C to 120°C.
Two separate water channels extend to the reservoir 12, a first water channel 19A and a second water channel 19B. The first water channel discharges the water, which is condensed in the condenser and the second water channel discharges the water, which is condensed in the vortex tube.
This embodiment further comprises a second fan 17 which blows the branch flow into the condenser.
Turning to figure 7, two devices 1 may be connected to a common source and operate alternately in adsorption mode and desorption mode. The entry 6A of the device 1 is connected to a gas source 72 for removing substances from the gas coming from the gas source. Gates 150 allow control of the flow of gas from the gas source into the two devices 1.
An entry of the heating system 70 (depicted diagrammatically) of the device is connected to the heat source 71. Gates 152 allow control of the flow of heat from the heat source into the two devices 1.
The devices 1 may share a single condenser which alternates between the two vessels 20.
The heat source 71 of the heating system and the gas source 72 form part of a common source device 74. The common source device 74 may in particular be a power plant, a heat plant, a hydrocarbon processing plant, or a factory. In this way, the device of the present invention can clean the gas from the source device while using heat, in particular residual heat, from the very same source. During the adsorption phase, gas from the gas source is fed into the vessel, and during desorption phase, heat from the heat source, in particular residual heat, is used to heat the air or gas inside the vessel. Incorporation of the device into a system for air-conditioning, heating of air, water desalination and/or water purification
Turning to figure 8, a system 200 is shown which is constructed to condition air, heat of air, perform water desalination and water purification. The system 200 comprises a dehumidifier 202 for removing moisture from the air. The system 200 is coupled to a space 201 in which the air is to be conditioned via an air supply opening 220 and an air return opening 222.
The dehumidifier 202 is based on the device 1 as discussed in connection with figures 1 -7. The dehumidifier comprises a primary air inlet 204 and a primary air outlet 203.
The dehumidifier further comprises at least two vessels 20A, 20B (generally designated 20) which are arranged in parallel and are constructed to operate alternately in adsorption mode and de-adsorption mode. Each vessel 20 comprises a respective primary air discharge channel 205 with a valve 207. The discharge channels 205 merge into the primary air outlet 203.
The system 200 further comprises an air cooling device 210 which is arranged downstream of the dehumidifier. The air cooling device 210 has a primary air inlet 212 which is connected to the primary air outlet 203 of the dehumidifier 202. The air cooling device 210 has a primary air outlet 218 which is coupled with the space 201 via a primary air channel 219.
The system 200 further comprises a first ambient air intake 224 having a valve 225 and a second ambient air intake 226 having a valve 227. A direct return channel 264 returning from the space 201 which is to be air-conditioned, and merges with the primary air channel 219. The ambient air intake 224 merges with the direct return channel 264 from the space for creating a mixture of ambient air and return air. The return channel 264 is connected to an auxiliary air inlet 272 of the air cooling device 210. The system further comprises a heat exchanger 230. The heat exchanger is coupled to the air cooling device 210 via a heat exchange feed channel 232. The heat exchanger 230 comprises a heat exchanger outlet 234 which is coupled to the primary air channel 219 at a merge point 236 via an indirect return channel 238 with valve 239. The indirect return channel 238 comprises an outlet 290 with valve 292 in order to have the possibility of discharging the return flow directly into the surroundings. The heat exchanger 230 works on counter flow.
A coolant channel 250 is provided for conveying a cooling air flow to the heat exchanger 230. The coolant air channel branches off from the primary air channel 219 at a branch point 252 downstream of the cooling device 210.
The cooling air flow which exits the heat exchanger 230 may be discharged into the surroundings at an outlet 254.
The system 200 further comprises a bypass channel 240 with a valve 241 which bypasses the dehumidifier 202 and which extends from a branch point 242 upstream of the dehumidifier to a merge point 244 downstream of the dehumidifier.
The system further comprises a tank 12 for holding water, in particular water, which is recovered from the air in the dehumidifier. The tank 12 is connected to the dehumidifier 202 via water channel 78. Additionally, a water channel 256 with valve 257 extends from the heat exchanger 230 to the tank 12.
A further water channel 258 with a valve 259 extends from the tank 12 to another tank 260. The tank 260 receives water from the tank 12 and this water is used for direct and indirect evaporative cooling in the cooling device 210, as will be explained further below. To this end, a water supply channel 262 with a valve 263 extends from the tank 260 to the cooling device 210.
The system 200 further comprises a direct return channel 264 with a valve 265 which extends from the space 201 to the primary air channel 219 and merges with the primary air channel 219 at a merge point 268 upstream of the dehumidifier and upstream of the branch point 242 of the bypass channel 240. A fan 267 is provided in the direct return channel 264 to take air from the space 201 and/or from the surroundings via air intake 224.
An auxiliary feed channel 270 extends from a branch off point 271 at the direct return channel 264 to an auxiliary air inlet 272 and comprises a valve 274. An auxiliary air outlet 273 is provided, to which the heat exchange feed channel 232 of the heat exchanger 230 is 25 connected. A fan 266 is provided in the primary air channel 219 for blowing the primary air flow through the primary air channel. A further valve 276 is provided in the primary air channel 219 directly upstream of the space 201. The system further comprises an air filter 278 positioned upstream of the dehumidifier and directly downstream of the air intake 226.
The evaporator is fed with water via water supply channel 280 and valve 281 , and may additionally be provided with water from an external source via external water supply channel 284 with valve 285.
The system further comprises an evaporator 282 for evaporating water into the primary air channel 219. The evaporator 282 is provided downstream of the air filter 278 and upstream of the dehumidifier 202. More specifically, the evaporator 282 is provided downstream of merge point 236 and upstream of merge point 268.
Turning to figures 9 and 10, the dehumidifier 202 comprises two vessels 20A, 20B. Each vessel comprises a substantially tubular body 4 of a moisture absorbing material for adsorbing moisture from a primary air flow during the adsorption mode which is explained further below. The moisture adsorbing material may be supported by a metal mesh. The tubular body 4 has an open lower end and closed upper end. In use, the air flows from the inside to the outside through the tubular body. A flow from outside to inside is also possible, as is the case in the vessel 20 of figures 1-7. The adsorption material(s) are chosen for their capability to extract moisture from air and may be the same as in the embodiment of figures 1-7.
A heating unit 14 is provided inside each vessel 20A, 20B. The heat may be provided from any source of heat or, alternatively, from power such as electric power. A fan 5 is further provided to draw air through an opening 34.
A common condenser 10 is provided which can alternately be fed with air from vessel 20A or vessel 20B. The condenser comprises a fan 11 and an air inlet 50 which draws in ambient air and air outlet 54 which discharges into the surroundings. A return channel 7 is provided for each vessel 20A, 20B for recirculating air through the body of adsorption material. The vessel has an upstream region 22 which is located upstream from the body 4 of adsorption material. The vessel 20 has a downstream region 24 which is located downstream from the body 4 of adsorption material.
Turning to figure 11, the air cooling device 210 comprises a first, indirect evaporative air cooler 214 in which the dried primary air from the dehumidifier is cooled indirectly, and a second, direct evaporative air cooler 216, the direct evaporative air cooler device being arranged downstream from the indirect evaporative air cooler and coupled to the indirect evaporative air cooler. The primary air channel 219 extends through the air cooling device 210 from the primary air inlet 212 to the primary air outlet 218. The details of the air cooling device are discussed further below.
The indirect evaporative air cooler 214 further comprises an evaporative water distribution system 310 for distributing evaporated water in the regenerative air channel 300 for cooling the regenerative air flow. The water distribution system comprises a supply channel 262 and a wet pad 312 in the regenerative air channel. The water is provided to cool the regenerative air flow via direct evaporation. As a result, the regenerative air flow is cooled. A heat exchange surface 304 is provided between the regenerative air channel 300 and the primary air channel 219. Heat is drawn from the primary air flow by the regenerative air flow via the heat exchange surface 304.
The indirect evaporative air cooler 214 further comprises an outlet 213 which leads to the second direct evaporative air cooling device 216. The indirect evaporative air cooler extends along about ¾ of the length of the air cooling device 210, more generally between 50 percent and 85 percent of the total length of the air cooling device.
The direct evaporative air cooler 216 comprises an evaporative water distribution device 314 which is fed with water via the supply channel 262. The water is directly evaporated into the primary air channel 219 to moisten and cool the primary air flow which has just passed the indirect regenerative air cooler 214. The enthalpy of the primary air flow in the direct evaporative cooler 216 remains substantially constant, i.e. the cooling is substantially adiabatic. The air cooling device 210 comprises a third, auxiliary air cooler 320 for cooling the regenerative air flow with an auxiliary air flow 322. The third, auxiliary air cooler 320 comprises: - an auxiliary air inlet 272 for the auxiliary air flow 322, an auxiliary air channel 308 and an auxiliary air outlet 273 for the auxiliary air flow,
- an auxiliary evaporative water distribution system 324 for distributing evaporated water in the auxiliary air channel 308 for cooling the auxiliary air flow,
- a heat exchange surface 326 placed between the auxiliary air channel 308 and the regenerative air channel 300 for conducting heat from the regenerative air flow to the auxiliary air flow.
The regenerative air flow cools the primary air flow and is simultaneously cooled itself by the auxiliary air flow.
The auxiliary air flow 322 may comprise ambient air drawn in via intake 224 (see figure 8, air from the space 201 to be cooled or a mixture thereof. The regenerative air channel comprises a regenerative air outlet 330 which discharges into the auxiliary air channel 308, wherein the regenerative air flow 311 is mixed with the auxiliary air flow 322.
The first air cooler 216, second air cooler 216 and third air cooler 320 form an integrated device. At least a substantial part of the regenerative air channel 300 is located between a primary air channel 219 of the first, indirect evaporative air cooler and an auxiliary air channel 308 of the third, auxiliary air cooler 320. The primary air channel 219 of the first, indirect evaporative air cooler, the regenerative air flow channel 300 and the auxiliary air flow channel 308 are arranged concentrically. The auxiliary air channel 308 is the outer channel, the regenerative air channel 300 is the middle channel and the primary air channel 15 is the inner channel.
It is noted that the air cooling device 210 disclosed herein may be replaced by other air cooling devices which are based on a combination of indirect and direct evaporative cooling and which are available on the market. In such an embodiment, the auxiliary air channel 270 would not be present.
Operating mode: air cooling mode of warm humid air
Returning to figure 8, this operating mode relates to a situation in which the space 201 contains warm humid air. The warm humid air needs to be cooled, for instance to keep the space at a comfortable temperature for humans, plants or machinery. The warm humid air from the space 201 is withdrawn from the space via air return opening 222 and returned to the upstream side of the system via direct return channel 264 in order to be entered as a primary air flow into the dehumidifier via inlet 204. It is noted that the primary air flow at the inlet 204 can be composed completely of air from the space 201, but alternatively also completely from outside air via intake 224 or intake 226 or from a mixture of inside air and outside air. Also, the outside air and/or the air from the space 201 can be mixed with the auxiliary air flow which has been cooled in the heat exchanger 230 and returns via the indirect return channel 238, which will be discussed further below.
Returning to figures 9 and 10, the dehumidifier 202 is configured to let each vessel 20A, 20B alternately operate in adsorption mode (drying mode) and desorption mode (water recovery mode). Vessel 20B is shown in adsorption mode and vessel 20A is shown in desorption mode. In adsorption mode, a primary air flow enters the vessel 20B via inlet 204 and entry 6A. A valve 150 at the entry of vessel 20B is open and valve 207 at the exit is also open. The fan 5 is on. The air travels through the body 4 of adsorption material in which the moisture is removed from the air by adsorption to the material. In the process, heat is released by the adsorbed moisture which increase the temperature of the air flow. The primary air flow travels from inside out through the tubular body. Next, the air is discharged via opening 5 into discharge channel 205 to be processed further downstream in the cooling device 210.
At the same time, the vessel 20A is operated in desorption mode. The heater 14 is turned on, and valve 150 and valve 207 are closed in order close the vessel. Valve 41 is
15 opened. The air is recirculated by the fan 5 time and again through the body of adsorption material, through opening 5, through the recirculation channel 7, through the heater 14 and back to the body of adsorption material. The heated air adsorbs the moisture from the body of adsorption material. At the same time, another air flow is created by the fan 11 through the condenser 10 via the channel 9 and the condenser return channel 10A. The air in the condenser is cooled with ambient air so that the moisture which is absorbed from the body
of adsorption material condenses and flows into tank 12 via channel 78. The ambient air flows through inlet 50 and outlet 54.
When the body of adsorption material of vessel 20A is dehumidified and/or the body 25 of adsorption material of vessel 20B has become saturated with moisture, the modes are switched. The various valves are opened or closed. The heater of vessel 20A is shut off and of the heater vessel 20B is turned on. The condenser 10 is coupled to vessel 20B instead of vessel 20A, and the mirrored operation continues.
The dried and heated air which leaves the dehumidifier via discharge channel 205 and primary air outlet 203 subsequently enters the air cooling device 210. The dried and heated air enters the cooling device from the dehumidifier 202 via primary air inlet 212.
In a first section of the air cooling device 210 the primary air flow is cooled with a regenerative air flow 311 in a regenerative air channel 300. Here, the enthalpy of the primary air flow is lowered.
The regenerative air channel receives the regenerative air flow via branch off point 302 in the primary air channel. About one third of the primary air flow is branched off into the regenerative channel, but this can be varied according to requirements.
The branch off point 302 for the regenerative air flow is located in the direct evaporative cooler 216, in particular downstream of a first region 340 of direct evaporative cooling and upstream of a second region 341 of direct evaporative cooling. At the branch off point 302, the regenerative air flow makes a 180 degree turn. Hence, the regenerative air flow flows as a counter flow to the primary air flow.
This air may have a temperature of 37 degrees Celsius and a relative humidity (RH) of 20 percent. This primary air flow is cooled with the regenerative air flow which may reach a temperature of 15 degrees Celsius at a RH of 90 percent. At the discharge end of the regenerative air channel, the regenerative air flow has a temperature of 32 Celsius and a RH of 90 percent.
The auxiliary air flow which enters the air cooling device via the auxiliary air inlet 322 may have a temperature of 25 degrees Celsius and an RH of 50 percent. The auxiliary air flow which exits the air cooling device may have temperature of 32 degrees Celsius and a RH of 80 percent.
After being cooled in the air cooling device 210, the primary air flow exits the air cooling device 210 via the primary air outlet 218 and is discharged into the space 201 via opening 220. The auxiliary air flow which exits the air cooling device 210 is conveyed to the heat exchanger 230 via the heat exchanger air inlet which is connected to the auxiliary air flow outlet 273 of the third, auxiliary air cooler. Here, the auxiliary air flow is cooled with a branch flow from the primary air channel 219 which is branched off downstream of primary air outlet 218 of the air cooling device 210.
The auxiliary air flow which exits the air cooling device may have a temperature of 32 degrees and a relative humidity of 80 percent. In the heat exchanger 230, the auxiliary air flow is cooled to a temperature of about 27 degrees and a relative humidity of about 95 percent. The auxiliary air flow is returned to the primary air channel 219 via the heat exchanger air outlet 234 and an indirect return channel 238 which ends at a return point 236 in the primary air channel upstream of the dehumidifier 202. The device is free of any compressor and free of the use of a refrigerant. This
contributes to the energy efficiency. The device therefore largely operates at atmospheric air pressure.
Turning to figure 12, an example of the operating mode of cooling of warm humid air is shown on a psychometric chart. The various points along the primary air channel are indicated in figure 8 as numbers with circles around them. Point 1 indicates the condition of the outside air, i.e. 35 degrees Celsius and 40 percent RH. Point 6 indicates the condition inside the space 201, i.e. 25 degrees Celsius and 50 percent RH. The outside air is drawn in at air intake 224, and mixed with the air from the space in the direct return channel 264. The primary air flow now has a temperature of about 29 degrees and a RH of about 45 percent, see point 2 on the chart.
Next, the air is dehumidified in the dehumidifier 202 and heated due to the latent heat of condensation which is converted into heat. This is shown as trajectory 2-3. The primary air flow now has a temperature of 37 degrees and a RH of 20 percent. The removal of the moisture does not change the enthalpy.
Next, the primary air flow is cooled in the first indirect regenerative cooling device to a temperature of 21 degrees and 55 percent RH. This is indicated as point 4. Since no moisture is added, the absolute humidity stays constant. Next, the primary air flow is cooled in the second direct evaporative cooling device to a temperature of 15 degrees and a RH of 90 percent. The enthalpy is not changed by evaporating the moisture into the primary air flow. The primary air flow of 15 degrees is then discharged into the space where it gradually warms up to a temperature of 25 degrees.
With simple parts and without a compressor or refrigerant, the space 201 can be cooled.
In this operating mode, valves 227 and 239 may be open or partially open to draw in ambient air and/or cooled auxiliary air from heat exchanger 230. Valve 292 may be opened or closed to let escape none, some or all of the cooled auxiliary air from heat exchanger 230.
Operating mode: air cooling mode of warm dry air This operating mode is largely the same as the operating mode of cooling warm humid air, except that the dehumidifier is bypassed via the bypass channel 240. This is possible because the air does not need to be dehumidified. To this end valves 150 are
closed and valve 241 is opened. Turning to figure 13, the psychometric chart is substantially the same as for cooling humid war air, except that there is no dehumidification step. The air from the space 201 is directly guided through the air cooling device 210 via air return opening 222, the direct return channel 264, merge point 266 and bypass channel 240. There is first cooling step from 1 to 4, wherein the absolute humidity stays constant and the temperature lowers to about 18 degrees and RH of 70 percent. In the second cooling step the temperature lowers to 15 or 16 degrees and an RH of about 90 percent.
Operating mode: air heating mode The device may also be used for heating air and providing the heated air to a space.
In the heating mode, the cold outside air is drawn in via air intake 226. Valve 227 is opened.
The air is first filtered in the filter device 278.
Subsequently, the air is humidified in evaporator 282. The evaporator is fed with warm water from the dehumidifier 202. This water is relatively warm because the desorption step takes place with the heater 14 on, leading to high temperatures. Next, the primary air flow enters the vessel 20 which is in adsorption mode and the moisture is adsorbed from the air, thereby heating the air. The primary airflow subsequently enter the air cooling device 210, where it is humidified.
Subsequently, the air is led into the space 201 which is to be heated.
In heating mode, the heat exchanger 230 is off.
Turning to figure 14, outside air having a temperature of zero degrees Celsius and a 30 RH of about 90 percent is drawn in via air intake 227. The outside air is humidified and heated in the evaporator to a temperature of about 20 or 21 degrees and a RH of about 90 percent by direct evaporation of warm water.
Subsequently, the primary air flow is dried and heated in the dehumidifier 202 to a temperature of 40 degrees Celsius and a RH of about 15 percent, see point 3. Next, the primary air flow is re -humidified in the air cooling device to a RH of about 25 percent, see point 4.
It is noted that if this operational mode is not required, the evaporator 282 may not be present.
Operating mode: desalinisation
In desalinisation mode, saline water is supplied to the evaporator 282 where it is evaporated in a primary air flow, thereby moistening the primary air flow. The moistened primary air flow is dried in a compartment of the dehumidifier 202 by adsorption of the moisture to the adsorption material.
Subsequently, the compartment is switched to desorption mode, wherein during the desorption mode the moisture is recovered in the condenser 10 of the dehumidifier and discharged into a tank 12.
The primary air flow leaves the dehumidifier via outlet 203 and subsequently enters the air cooling device.
As required, detailed embodiments of the present invention are disclosed herein;
however, it is to be understood that the disclosed embodiments are merely exemplary of the invention, which can be embodied in various forms. Therefore, specific structural and functional details disclosed herein are not to be interpreted as limiting, but merely as a basis for the claims and as a representative basis for teaching one skilled in the art to variously employ the present invention in virtually any appropriately detailed structure. Further, the terms and phrases used herein are not intended to be limiting, but rather, to provide an understandable description of the invention.
The terms "a" or "an", as used herein, are defined as one or more than one. The term plurality, as used herein, is defined as two or more than two. The term another, as used herein, is defined as at least a second or more. The terms including and/or having, as used herein, are defined as comprising (i.e., open language, not excluding other elements or steps). Any reference signs in the claims should not be construed as limiting the scope of the claims or the invention.
The mere fact that certain measures are recited in mutually different dependent claims does not indicate that a combination of these measures cannot be used to advantage.

Claims

1. Device for removing moisture and/or another substance from ambient air or from a gas, the device being configured to operate alternately in an adsorption phase and a desorption phase, the device comprising:
- a vessel comprising an entry and an exit which comprise valves allowing the exit and entry to be opened and closed;
- a body of adsorption material positioned inside the vessel dividing the inside of the vessel in an upstream region and a downstream region;
- a fan arranged in the vessel for blowing air or gas through the body of adsorption material from the upstream region to the downstream region;
- a heating element arranged in the vessel for heating the air or gas inside the device;
- a condenser loop, the condenser loop comprising:
- a condenser located outside the vessel,
- a branch conduit which extends from the vessel to the condenser and which allows a branch flow of air or gas to flow from the downstream region to the condenser, and
- a condenser return conduit which extends from the condenser to the vessel and which allows the branch flow to return from the condenser to the upstream region of the vessel;
wherein the device further comprises:
- at least one main return conduit for returning a main return flow of air or gas from the downstream region to the upstream region while bypassing the condenser.
2. Device according to claim 1 , wherein the device is configured to operate alternately in an adsorption phase and a desorption phase,
wherein in the adsorption phase:
- the device is configured to open the exit and entry of the vessel by means of the valves, and to create by means of the fan a main flow entering the vessel via the entry, subsequently flowing through the body of adsorption material and exiting the vessel via the exit, wherein moisture and/or another substance is adsorbed by the adsorption material;
and wherein in the desorption phase:
- the device is configured to close the exit and entry of the vessel by means of the valves, and to create by means of the fan a main loop of repeated flow of the air or gas from the upstream region to the downstream region through the body of adsorption material and via the at least one main return conduit from the downstream region to the upstream region while heating the air or gas by means of the heating unit, thereby desorbing the one or more substances from the adsorbing material;
and wherein in the desorption phase:
- the device is configured to create a branch flow of a portion of the air or gas through the condenser loop for removing moisture from said portion of the air or gas while creating the main loop of repeated flow of the air or gas.
3. Device according to claim 1 or 2, wherein the device, preferably the condenser loop, is configured to let a relatively small flow of air or gas circulate through the condenser loop relative to the main loop of repeated flow of the air or gas bypassing the condenser.
4. Device according to claim 1, 2, or 3, wherein the condenser comprises a condenser entry for ambient air, a fan, an exchange surface for exchanging heat between the branch flow arriving through the branch channel and a flow of ambient air entering the condenser through the condenser entry, and a condenser discharge for discharging the heated ambient air.
5. Device according to any of claims 1 to 4,
wherein
- the body has a substantially tubular shape.
6. Device according to claim 5,
wherein
- a partition wall is arranged in the vessel between the entry and the exit, said partition wall dividing the inner space of the vessel in an upstream chamber and a downstream chamber, said partition wall having arranged therein an opening;
- the tubular body of adsorption material is open at one end and closed at the other end by means of an end wall, wherein the open end is positioned against the partition wall such that the body of adsorption material is arranged on one side of the partition wall, and the inner region of the body is in fluid communication with the other side of the partition wall via said opening.
7. Device according to claim 6,
wherein
- the device further comprises a movable partition wall having openings, which is positioned within the tubular body of adsorption material, wherein the movable partition wall is movable between a closed position and an open position, wherein in the closed position the movable partition wall divides the inner region inside the tubular body in a first part and a separate second part, the first and second part being in fluid communication via openings in the movable partition wall, and wherein in the open position the first part and second part are united and together form the inner region.
8. Device according to claim 6 or 7,
wherein
- the fan is arranged in the opening in the partition wall.
9. Device according to any of claims 5 to 8,
wherein
- the body of absorbing material comprises a first layer of a first adsorption material for adsorbing a first substance and a second layer of a second, different adsorption material for adsorbing a second substance, wherein the first and second layer form a multi-layer tubular body.
10. Device according to claim 9,
wherein the device further comprises:
- a docking station for a container, wherein the docking station is connected to the vessel via a discharge conduit and comprises a pump for pumping the contents of the vessel, in particular air or gas which comprises one or more undesired substances, such as carbon dioxide, into the container.
11. Device according to any of the preceding claims, wherein the heating unit comprises a closed conduit system which is connectable to a source of heated fluid, wherein the conduit is preferably physically separated from the body of adsorption material.
12. Device according to any of the preceding claims, wherein the branch conduit of the condenser loop has an entry opening in the downstream region of the vessel and the condenser return conduit of the condenser loop has an exit opening in the upstream region of the vessel.
13. Device according to any of the preceding claims, further comprising a vortex tube which is provided in the condenser loop and positioned downstream from the condenser, the vortex tube comprising a vortex tube entry where air or gas under pressure coming from the condenser is fed into, a cold air exit for cold air and a hot air exit for hot air, wherein the cold air exit is connected to the air entry of the condenser and wherein the hot air exit exits into the vessel.
14. Method of removing moisture or another substance from ambient air or from a gas, in particular an exhaust gas, the method comprising:
- providing a device comprising
- a vessel having positioned therein a body of adsorption material, said vessel further having an entry and an exit; and
- a condenser;
- operating said device alternately in an adsorption phase and a desorption phase, wherein
- during the adsorption phase:
- feeding ambient air or gas into the entry and through the body of adsorption material;
- adsorbing moisture and/or another substance from the air or gas by the adsorption material; and
- discharging the air or gas through the exit,
- when the adsorption material is saturated, switching to the desorption phase, and - during the desorption phase:
- closing the entry and the exit,
- repeatedly circulating the air or gas through the body of
adsorption material in a main loop of repeated flow bypassing the condenser while heating the air or gas, thereby desorbing the one or more substances from the
adsorption material, and
- while circulating the air or gas through the body of adsorption material in a main loop of repeated flow bypassing the condenser, circulating a portion of the air or gas from the vessel through a condenser located outside the vessel for removing moisture and returning the dried air or gas into the vessel after the condensation.
15. Method according to claim 14,
wherein
- a relatively small flow of air or gas is circulated through the condenser loop relative to the main loop of repeated flow of the air or gas in the vessel.
16. Method according to claim 14 or 15, wherein the condenser is cooled by ambient air.
17. Method according to any of claims 14 to 16,
wherein - during the adsorption phase moisture is adsorbed in a first layer of a first adsorption material and a second substance is adsorbed in a second layer of a second, different adsorption material; and
wherein
- during the desorption phase first moisture is removed from the air or
gas inside the vessel and subsequently the air or gas is pumped out of the vessel in a container.
18. Method according to any of claims 14 to 17, wherein the entry of the vessel is connected to a gas source, wherein in the desorption phase residual heat is used from a heat source, and wherein the heat source and the gas source form part of a common source device in particular a power plant, a heat plant, a hydrocarbon, processing plant, or a factory, and wherein during the adsorption phase gas from the gas source is fed into the vessel, and wherein during desorption phase heat, in particular residual heat, from the heat source is used to heat the air or gas inside the vessel.
19. System for cooling air, heating air, desalination of water and/or water purification, the system comprising:
- two devices according to any of the claims 1 to 13 as a dehumidifier, wherein the devices are configured to operate alternately in adsorption mode and desorption mode.
20. System according to claim 19,
wherein
the devices share a single condenser which alternates between the vessels of the devices.
21. System according to claim 19 or 20,
wherein
- the system comprises a primary air channel;
wherein
- the dehumidifier is arranged in the primary air channel, wherein the dehumidifier comprises:
- a primary air inlet fluidly connecting the inlet of the vessel of each device to an upstream part of the primary air channel; and
- a primary air outlet fluidly connecting the exit of the vessel of each device to downstream part of the primary air channel;
and wherein - the system further comprises an evaporative air cooling device arranged downstream of the dehumidifier and connected to the primary air outlet via the primary air channel.
22. System according to claim 21, wherein the evaporative air cooling device comprises:
- a first, indirect evaporative air cooler along the primary air channel in which dried air from the dehumidifier is cooled indirectly, and
- a second, direct evaporative air cooler, the direct evaporative air cooler being arranged downstream from the indirect evaporative air cooler along the primary air channel.
23. System according to claim 22,
wherein the indirect evaporative air cooler comprises:
- a regenerative air channel which is fed with a regenerative air flow to be used as a coolant, wherein the regenerative air channel is branched off from the primary air channel at a branch off point,
- an evaporative water distribution system for distributing evaporative water in the regenerative air channel for cooling the regenerative air flow,
- a heat exchange surface placed between the primary air channel and the regenerative air channel for conducting heat from the primary air flow to the regenerative air flow.
24. System according to claim 23, wherein the system further comprises a third, auxiliary air cooler for cooling the regenerative air flow with an auxiliary air flow, wherein the third, auxiliary air cooler comprises:
- an auxiliary air inlet for the auxiliary air flow, an auxiliary air channel and an auxiliary air outlet for the auxiliary air flow,
- an auxiliary evaporative water distribution system for distributing an evaporative water in the auxiliary air channel for cooling the auxiliary air flow,
- a heat exchange surface placed between the auxiliary air channel and the regenerative air channel for conducting heat from the regenerative air flow to the auxiliary air flow,
wherein the regenerative air flow cools the primary air flow and is simultaneously cooled itself by the auxiliary air flow.
25. System according to claim 24, wherein the system further comprises a heat exchanger comprising:
- a heat exchanger air inlet which is connected to the auxiliary air flow outlet of the third, auxiliary air cooler, - a heat exchanger air outlet which is connected via a return channel to the primary air channel at a return point upstream of the dehumidifier,
- a heat exchanger coolant inlet which branches off from the primary air channel downstream of the second, direct evaporative air cooler.
26. System according to any of claims 21 to 25, wherein the system is configured for an air cooling mode of warm humid air, wherein a primary air flow is taken from a space to be cooled via an air return opening, guided through the dehumidifier and through the evaporative air cooling device.
27. System according to any of claims 21 to 26, wherein the system is configured for an air cooling mode for warm dry air, wherein a primary air flow is taken from a space to be cooled, bypasses the dehumidifier via a bypass channel, and is guided through the evaporative air cooling device.
28. System according to any of claims 19 to 27, wherein the system is configured for an air heating mode, wherein outside air which enters the system via an air intake is supplied to an evaporator, wherein the evaporator is fed with warm water which is recovered in a desorption cycle of the dehumidifier, and wherein the heated and humidified primary air flow from the evaporator is dehumidified and heated in an desorption step in the dehumidifier.
29. System according to any of claims 19 to 28, wherein the system is configured for a desalinisation or purification mode, wherein saline water is supplied to the evaporator where it is evaporated in a primary air flow, thereby moistening the primary air flow, and wherein the moistened primary air flow is dried in a compartment of the dehumidifier by adsorption of the moisture to the adsorption material, and wherein subsequently the compartment is switched to desorption mode, wherein during the desorption mode the moisture is recovered in a condenser of the dehumidifier and discharged into a tank.
30. Evaporative air cooling device
comprising:
- a first, regenerative indirect evaporative air cooler comprising:
- a primary air channel for conveying a primary air flow between a primary air inlet and a primary air outlet, - a regenerative air channel which is fed with a regenerative air flow to be used as a coolant, wherein the regenerative air channel is branched off from the primary air channel at a branch off point,
- an evaporative water distribution system for distributing an evaporative water in the regenerative air channel for cooling the regenerative air flow,
- a heat exchange surface placed between the primary air channel and the regenerative air channel for conducting heat from the primary air flow to the regenerative air flow,
- a second, direct evaporative air cooler, the direct evaporative air cooler device being arranged downstream from the indirect evaporative air cooler and coupled to the primary air outlet of the indirect evaporative air cooler,
- a third, auxiliary air cooler for cooling the regenerative air flow with an auxiliary air flow, wherein the third, auxiliary air cooler comprises:
- an auxiliary air inlet for the auxiliary air flow, an auxiliary air channel, and an auxiliary air outlet for the auxiliary air flow,
- an auxiliary evaporative water distribution system for distributing an evaporative water in the auxiliary air channel for cooling the auxiliary air flow,
- a heat exchange surface placed between the auxiliary air channel and the regenerative air channel for conducting heat from the regenerative air flow to the auxiliary air flow.
PCT/NL2014/050477 2013-07-11 2014-07-11 Device and method for extracting various components from ambient air or from a vapor-gas mixture, and a system for cooling air, heating air, desalination of water and/or purification of water WO2015005791A1 (en)

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NL2011146A NL2011146C2 (en) 2013-07-11 2013-07-11 Device for extracting various components from ambient air or from a vapor-gas mixture.
NL2012292 2014-02-20
NL2012292A NL2012292C2 (en) 2014-02-20 2014-02-20 Device for extracting various components from ambient air or from a vapor-gas mixture, and a system and method for cooling air, heating air, desalination of water and/or purification of water.

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