Long-term performance of a hybrid indirect evaporative cooling-mechanical vapor compression cycle: A case study in Saudi Arabia

Qian Chen*, Kum Ja M, Muhammad Burhan, Muhammad Wakil Shahzad, Doskhan Ybyraiymkul, Seungjin Oh, Xin Cui, Kim Choon Ng*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


In Saudi Arabia, air conditioning is the main consumer of electricity, and increasing its energy efficiency is of great importance for energy conservation and carbon footprint reduction. This study presents the evaluation of a hybrid indirect evaporative cooling-mechanical vapor compression (IEC-MVC) cycle for cooling applications in Saudi Arabia. Most cities in this country are characterized by a high sensible cooling demand, and a few cities near the coasts of the Red sea and the Persian Gulf also need dehumidification. By employing the hybrid system, IEC can undertake about 60% of the cooling load in the summer of arid cities, and energy consumption can be reduced by up to 50%. The contribution of IEC and energy saving are less significant in humid cities because the latent loads have to be handled by MVC. Over the whole year, IEC contributes 50% of the total cooling capacity and reduces energy consumption by 40% in dry cities, while the saving is lower at 15%–25% in humid cities like Mecca and Jeddah. The average water consumption of the IEC is in the range of 4–12 L/hr. The water consumption can be replenished by the condensate collected from the MVC evaporator if the ambient humidity is high. Based on the annual performance, the cost of the IEC-MVC process is calculated, and it is 15%–35% lower than the standalone MVC. The results demonstrate the great potential of the hybrid IEC-MVC cycle in Saudi Arabia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1032961
JournalFrontiers in Built Environment
StatePublished - Nov 8 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors gratefully acknowledge the generous funding from 1) the KAUST Cooling Initiative (KCI) project, REP/1/3988-01-01, and 2) the Water Desalination and Reuse Center (WDRC), King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), and (3) Shenzhen International Graduate School, Tsinghua University (07010100018).

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © 2022 Chen, M, Burhan, Shahzad, Ybyraiymkul, Oh, Cui and Ng.


  • economic analysis
  • energy saving
  • indirect evaporative cooling
  • long-term analysis
  • mechanical vapor compression
  • water consumption

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Building and Construction
  • Urban Studies


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