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Experimental and numerical study of an earth-to-air heat exchanger for air cooling in a residential building in hot semi-arid climate

Khabbaz, Mohamed
Benhamou, Brahim
Limam, Karim
Hamdi, Hassan
Bennouna, Amin
Published in Energy and Buildings. 2016, vol. 125, p. 109-121
Abstract This work deals with an experimental and numerical study of an Earth-to-Air Heat Exchanger (EAHX) for air cooling, connected to a residential building located in Marrakech (Morocco) which climate is a hot semi-arid one. The EAHX consists of three parallel PVC pipes of 72 m length each and 15 cm inside diameter, buried at 2.2–3.2 m depth. Each pipe is equipped with a fan, which blows treated air into the building. The experimental study consists of summer monitoring of the EAHX via measurements of air temperature and humidity throughout the exchanger, as well as at its inlet and outlet to the building for two fixed values of the airflow rate. The experimental results show that the EAHX is a good semi-passive system for air refreshment, as the recorded blown air temperature into the building is quasi-constant at 25 °C with air humidity around 40%, even though the outside temperature reaches more than 40 °C. Furthermore, the reduction of daily and annual air temperature amplitudes is characterized by an exponential drop as a function of pipe length. The characteristic length is found to be around 20 m and 70 m respectively for the daily and annual air temperature amplitudes reduction. Moreover, it is shown that the design guidelines from literature cannot straightforwardly be applied to an EAHX which is subject to meteorological disturbance from the upper surface and/or which is not operated all year round, for which numerical simulation with a validated models remains necessary. On the other hand, dynamic simulations of the EAHX using TRNSYS software (TYPE 460) were performed with one pipe or three pipes continuously running. Good agreement was found between the simulation and experimental results. Simulation results show that the EAHX can perform a maximum drop of air temperature as high as 19.5 °C and 18.3 °C respectively for an EAHX with one and three pipes. The achieving specific cooling capacity is 58 W/m2 (one pipe) and 55 W/m2 (three pipes) obtained for air temperatures of 25 °C and 26 °C respectively, at the EAHX outlet and 44.6 °C at its inlet.
Keywords TRNSYSAir coolingMonitoringEAHXResidential building
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Research groups ISE Energie
ISE Pôle Sciences
Systèmes énergétiques
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KHABBAZ, Mohamed et al. Experimental and numerical study of an earth-to-air heat exchanger for air cooling in a residential building in hot semi-arid climate. In: Energy and Buildings, 2016, vol. 125, p. 109-121. doi: 10.1016/j.enbuild.2016.04.071 https://archive-ouverte.unige.ch/unige:83684

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Deposited on : 2016-05-17

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