Evaporative air-cooling (the ubiquitous Air Cooler is one instance) is traditionally one of the most fundamental cooling systems known to mankind to achieve thermal comfort. The same concept is used by nature to cool the human body via perspiration. Based on the principle of adiabatic cooling, evaporative cooling systems make use of water as a natural coolant where water droplets evaporate taking heat either from the air or any surface and in-turn cools the air or the surface. If designed and applied properly it can replace conventional air conditioner (AC) in places away from the sea for most times of the year. Control climate is measured by human comfort which is provided by active control of temperature, humidity, movement of air and its purity. The evaporative cooler has the ability to provide most of these at a very affordable cost and operating expenses as it uses few components like fan, pump and water to do the job. Water trickle down the cooling pad or fills using a pump and the fan draws the dry air across the wet surface to cool it. In fact, the continuous flow of water through the cooling pads acts as a filter and major part of dirt and dust in the air get filtered there.
The major advantage of evaporative cooler remains its low cost of ownership. Approximately, the initial cost remains to be less than half of Air conditioners and running cost varies between 1/6th to 1/10th of Air Conditioners, thus giving a lot of savings over its life cycle. The other advantage of using evaporative cooler lies in the fact that it provides 100% fresh air, which overcomes all the major concerns associated with recirculation of air, especially during the present COVID-19 pandemic condition. In a non-pandemic condition, also, the use of once-through air reduces the probability of transmission of any kind of infection.
Many times there are concerns raised related to maintenance since continuous use of water may lead to corrosion in the parts, and growth of bacteria/fungi if not maintained properly. However, with the advancement of technology, such concerns are being taken care in modern machines having improved technologies such as anti-rust housings equipped with advanced electronic controls to provide necessary maintenance of the machines on its own. Simultaneously, the limitation of conventional Air Coolers, of not being useful in the humid climate can now be overcome using hybrid coolers.
From an application perspective, Evaporative Cooling may help save energy by up to 90% in comparison to Air Conditioners. It is the most energy efficient technology for cooling of fresh air and can satisfy most of the comfort cooling/ventilation applications across the country if designed and installed properly.
In the present pandemic times, more and more fresh air intake, as well as additional ventilation, is recommended by ISHRAE in its COVID-19 guidelines and other regulating authorities worldwide. Thus, its time to revisit the basics and consider the promising alternative “Evaporative Air cooling systems” which has a major role to play to ensure better indoor air quality and thus, in providing safe working spaces with low energy consumption.
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