In an evaporative cooling system, hot outside air is forced through wet cooling pads by means of a motor-driven fan. The cooling pads are moistened continuously by a water pump that delivers water to the cooling pads. The cooled down air is then blown into the building. The outcoming air can then be cooled down between 60 and 90 % of the wet-bulb depending on the effectiveness of the evaporative media. The outcoming air is cooled down 10 to 15 °C but contains a high amount of humidity. Therefore direct evaporative cooling is not recommended for cooling in work and living environments.
Two-stage evaporative cooling, on the other hand, produces efficiencies up to 114% of the wet bulb, resulting in temperatures up to 7 °C lower, and due to the lower temperature, it contains 60% less humidity than direct evaporative cooling processes.
The graphic shows an example of a one-stage evaporative cooling process vs a two-stage evaporative cooling process with outdoor air at 35 °C and 30% relative humidity. We can see that a one-stage evaporative cooling process produces indoor air with a higher humidity content than a two-stage evaporative cooling process (~80% vs ~69%). Furthermore, the wet-bulb efficiency of a one-stage evaporative cooling process is lower than a two-stage evaporative cooling process (85% vs 114%). Finally, the required airflow to achieve the same indoor temperature of 25 °C at the same heat load (11 kW) is more than 3 times higher in case of a one-stage evaporative cooling process (20 960 m3 /h vs 6000 m3 /h). This implies that the moisture production of a one-stage evaporative cooling process is more than 5 times higher (118 L/h vs 22 L/h).