Currently, climate change demands, among other things, choosing an option to provide thermal comfort in our buildings with minimal environmental impact. Additionally, high energy costs add the requirement of energy efficiency to the selected technology. In this regard, several manufacturers of refrigeration and air conditioning systems have developed alternatives based on natural processes, such as evaporative cooling. Keep reading to learn more about this alternative.

What is evaporative cooling?

Evaporative cooling is a natural process that uses water as a refrigerant to efficiently air condition spaces or provide cooling. This cooling effect occurs when water comes into contact with an airstream in a heat exchanger. In this way, excess heat is released into the atmosphere through water evaporation. This is the principle applied in refrigeration equipment, cooling towers, and condensers used to cool fluids in various processes.

In other words, evaporative cooling systems use water evaporation to cool the air. For many years, this technology has been used in geographic regions with warmer climates. However, it is no secret that the effects of global warming are also impacting Europe. Therefore, the use of evaporative cooling is expanding on our continent.

In truth, the phenomenon of evaporation has been used in the past to alleviate the effects of high temperatures. Many Arab families still hang wet clothes on doors and windows to cool the indoor air through water evaporation. When hot air passes through the moist medium, such as fabric in this case, the water evaporates and absorbs heat from the air, lowering its temperature. Why do you think many people tend to go to the sea, river, or lake during summer to alleviate the heat? Well, evaporative cooling can be somewhat compared to the refreshing sensation we experience when we are near a large body of water.

How does evaporative cooling work?

How would you react if we told you that evaporative cooling units use only water to cool the air? Indeed, they do not require chemical refrigerants to activate the process. Moreover, evaporative cooling systems operate with much less electricity compared to conventional refrigerated systems. This results in real energy savings and zero environmental impact.

No matter how high the temperature is outside, air conditioners that utilize the principle of evaporative cooling consume the same amount of electricity and can continue to supply 100% fresh air indoors. In contrast, conventional refrigeration systems require more energy as the outdoor temperature rises.

Along the same lines, as the heat becomes more intense, evaporative coolers offer greater energy savings. Simultaneously, their performance increases in line with temperature rises.

For large industrial and commercial facilities, evaporative cooling systems are the most suitable solution for air conditioning and refrigeration. On the other hand, traditional HVAC equipment is not a viable option due to the high operating and maintenance costs that are passed on to the end customers.

100% fresh air

But there’s more. Evaporative cooling equipment maximizes the use of fresh outdoor air. This aspect is highly relevant for occupational well-being, as ventilation with outdoor air is considered an essential condition in buildings classified as healthy and comfortable. Indeed, evaporative cooling systems do not recirculate indoor air but provide 100% fresh air. This results in a significant improvement in indoor air quality because the incoming air naturally displaces stagnant air, pushing it out of the building through doors and windows or extracting it with exhaust fans.

Types of evaporative cooling

In practice, evaporative cooling systems can be classified into two types:

Direct evaporative cooling

Specifically, these units draw in hot air from the outside through water-moistened cooling pads. As the air passes through these pads, the water evaporates, simultaneously absorbing the heat from the air. This process leads to a decrease in air temperature. Subsequently, a fan distributes the cool air throughout the building via a network of ducts. The term “direct evaporative cooling” is based on the fact that the air is cooled directly as a result of water evaporation.

Efficient indirect evaporative cooling

On the other hand, indirect evaporative cooling systems feature a heat exchanger that provides greater efficiency in generating completely fresh outdoor air without adding moisture. In other words, the fresh and cool air produced by these cooling units can be comparable to that generated by refrigeration units, with temperatures close to the ambient dew point. And they achieve this while requiring 80% less electricity. They are called indirect because in such units, the air is cooled indirectly through evaporation inside the core.

What is evaporative cooling used for?

Evaporative cooling systems have diverse applications. Below, we will explain some of them:

  • Industrial and commercial buildings: Units that utilize evaporative cooling are ideal for air conditioning large spaces, including semi-open buildings. In such cases, installing conventional HVAC systems would involve very high operating costs, either due to the size of the facility or the magnitude of its internal thermal load. Thanks to evaporation, it is possible to cool very extensive areas at a much lower operating cost compared to conventional HVAC systems. Moreover, owners have the option to condition only the office area, process areas, or areas that require refrigeration.
  • Poultry and livestock industry: In this field, evaporative cooling systems are the ideal solution to reduce the effects of thermal stress during the summer.
  • Proper cooling of the animal housing is particularly critical for the dairy industry, as heat can significantly decrease milk production from cows.
  • Even in agriculture, an evaporative cooling system is relevant, especially in greenhouses where specific environmental conditions are required to maximize crop production.

We supply the air conditioning and refrigeration systems your business needs

At Intersam, we design and develop custom refrigeration and air conditioning systems for industrial and commercial applications. Since 1995, we have been manufacturing heat exchangers, cooling units, and structures in all their variations: air-water, water-air, and air-refrigerant. All of them feature cutting-edge technology to ensure the highest performance and maximum energy efficiency.

Does your business need an evaporative cooling system for air conditioning or refrigeration? Contact us right away! We serve projects in Spain and anywhere in the world.

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