Performance evaluation of an indirect pre-cooling evaporative heat exchanger operating in hot and humid climate

X. Cui, K. J. Chua*, M. R. Islam, K. C. Ng

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

98 Scopus citations


A hybrid system, that combines an indirect evaporative heat exchanger (IEHX) and a vapor compression system, is introduced for humid tropical climate application. The chief purpose of the IEHX is to pre-cool the incoming air for vapor compression system. In the IEHX unit, the outdoor humid air in the product channel may potentially condense when heat is exchanged with the room exhaust air. A computational model has been developed to theoretically investigate the performance of an IEHX with condensation from the product air by employing the room exhaust air as the working air. We validated the model by comparing its temperature distribution and predicted heat flux against experimental data acquired from literature sources. The numerical model showed good agreement with the experimental findings with maximum average discrepancy of 9.7%. The validated model was employed to investigate the performance of two types of IEHX in terms of the air treatment process, temperature and humidity distribution, cooling effectiveness, cooling capacity, and energy consumption. Simulation results have indicated that the IEHX unit is able to fulfill 47% of the cooling load for the outdoor humid air while incurring a small amount of fan power. Consequently, the hybrid system is able to realize significant energy savings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)140-150
Number of pages11
JournalEnergy Conversion and Management
StatePublished - Jul 13 2015


  • Air conditioning
  • Condensation
  • Heat and mass transfer
  • Indirect evaporative cooling
  • Mathematical model

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Nuclear Energy and Engineering
  • Fuel Technology
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology


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