Giuseppe Bongiovi is an undergraduate in the Department of Physics. He is an intern at the Rutgers Energy Institute for the summer of 2015, working with Professor Sunil Somalwar, on solar powered thermal dehumification systems.
1. Please describe your research in a way that would be understandable to someone without any scientific or technical background. My project for the Rutgers Energy Institute for the summer of 2015 was to build and test the basic principles of a solar based dehumidification system and determine its viability. High humidity in an area can make an area feel much hotter than normal. My system was designed to use a liquid chemical called Triethylene Glycol and expose it to air within a home to dehumidify it. Triethylene Glycol is a chemical that has a property where when it is exposed ambient humidity in the air, it will naturally grab and hold on to the water vapor it comes into contact with. This property allows us to use it as a dehumidifier. The system I built is a 3 step process was designed to work and handle the liquid substance. It has an absorption phase where the substance is exposed to air and gathers humidity, a heating step to prepare the substance to get rid of the humidity it captured in the first step, and then a step to allow the captured humidity to be expunged out into the atmosphere. During the project we found points that the substance can reach when exposed to air and heated using a solar heating source. From these discovered points we are then able to improve upon our designs and have the full system work efficiently.
2. How did you come to be involved in this research? My professor for one of my courses was looking for students who were interested in studying and building upon the system one of his former students had started researching and also to get a more independent, hands on approach to working in a lab environment.
3. Where do you see your research fitting into our energy future? This research can be applied to areas of the world where there is plenty of sunshine and lots of humidity. It can help save money and energy in cooling costs in these areas.