Utilizing heat pipe heat exchanger to reduce the energy consumption of airborne infection isolation hospital room HVAC system

Elsevier BV
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Journal of Building Engineering, 2021, 35, pp. 102116-102116
Issue Date:
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© 2020 Elsevier Ltd The COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020 became a global issue and received substantial attention worldwide. In a hospital, airborne infection isolation (AII) room is significant to prevent the spread of the virus to patients and medical personnel. This research aims to improve the design of the HVAC system of AII room used for removing contaminated air by making physical changes through the addition of heat pipe heat exchanger (HPHE). Experiments were conducted with varying fresh air inlet temperature between 30 and 45 °C and velocity between 1.5 and 2.5 m/s with three configurations of HPHE to investigate the performance of the HVAC system in the AII room. To ensure the HVAC system with HPHE meets the AII room requirements, this study carried out a smoke test as well as pressure and hourly air volume measurement tests between the exhaust and supply air sides. The results showed that the design of ventilation coupled with HPHE could meet the standards for the AII room. The HPHE succeeded in reducing energy consumption through pre-cooling of fresh air before entering the cooling coil device, with the highest temperature difference of 9.4 °C. The highest energy recovery was 767 W at 0.080 m3/s air volume, which can handle 46% of the total HVAC system load at operating conditions and enhance the combined efficiency of the HVAC system. Based on the results, it can be concluded that the HPHE can be coupled in the HVAC system of the hospital AII room that is safe from cross-contamination which significantly reduces the energy consumption.
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