PCM-based passive air conditioner in urban houses for the tropical climates: An experimental analysis on the stratum air circulation

Wonorahardjo S., Sutjahja I. M. , Tunçbilek E. , Achsani R. A. , ARICI M. , Rahmah N.

Building and Environment, vol.192, 2021 (Journal Indexed in SCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 192
  • Publication Date: 2021
  • Doi Number: 10.1016/j.buildenv.2021.107632
  • Title of Journal : Building and Environment
  • Keywords: Passive air conditioner, Stratum air circulation, Room temperature distribution, Internal thermal mass, PCM, Latent thermal energy storage, Thermal comfort


© 2021Conventional room air conditioners consume a significant amount of energy, and thereby negatively affect the environment. In this perspective, passive air conditioning systems using phase change material (PCM) are very promising and widely investigated recently. In this study, influence of a PCM-based passive air conditioner on temperature distribution was experimentally studied in a test room under the local tropical climatic conditions. Coconut oil and water were used for latent heat storage and sensible heat storage, respectively. A storage panel was constructed with two openings—an outlet for conditioned air and an inlet for indoor air, then filled with coconut oil or water to create an additional internal thermal mass (ITM) in the room. The storage material was discharged at night in the indoor or outdoor, and stratum air circulation was utilized to provide the conditioned air into the room during diurnal period. Temperature measurements were conducted at five vertical and five horizontal points. The gained results showed that employing ITM heat storage panel in the room reduced peak temperatures and enhanced the thermal environment. Coconut oil ITM provided 0.5 °C lower peak temperature in the occupant zone while greater temperature reductions were observed in the upper zone compared to the reference case. In addition, ITM panel significantly decreased the observed temperature fluctuations throughout a day. This study revealed that ITM-based stratum air circulation can be a profound solution to the existing high energy consumption problem of conventional air conditioners used in the small urban houses under tropical climate.