This paper presents an analysis of a heat pump that uses a solid desiccant dehumidifier to reduce the humidity of the ambient air that flows into the evaporator, with the purpose of decreasing frost formation on the evaporator. The heat pump is analyzed by adding a dehumidifier model to a previously developed heat pump model that includes frost formation. The dehumidifier reduces the amount of energy required for evaporator defrosting, but introduces the need for energy for regenerating the desiccant. The purpose of the analysis is to search for operating conditions and optimum dehumidifier designs for which the use of the dehumidifier results in energy savings.
The results show that the use of a dehumidifier may result in net energy savings if the energetic cost of defrosting the evaporator is high. Other benefits of dehumidification include an increase of the time intervals between defrost cycles, a better stability in the conditions in the controlled space, and the potential for increased reliability and reduced maintenance of the heat pump.