Experimental Performance of a Solar Air Collector with a Perforated Back Plate in New Zealand

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This study investigates the thermal efficiency of a solar air heater (SAH), when it was mounted on a custom-made support frame, and was operated under different air mass flow rate. This SAH is composed of a transparent polycarbonate cover plate, a felt absorber layer, a perforated aluminium back plate and an aluminium frame. The ambient inlet air of this SAH is heated as it passes through the perforated back plate and over the felt absorber layer. The heated air is blown out through the outlet. Studies of SAHs with a similar design to this SAH were not found in the literature. The experiment was carried out at Massey University, Auckland campus, NZ (36.7◦ S, 174.7◦ E). The global horizontal solar irradiance, the ambient temperature and the wind speed were recorded using an on-site weather station. Temperature and velocity of the air at the outlet were measured using a hot wire anemometer. During the experiment, the air mass flow rate was between 0.022 ± 0.001 kg/s and 0.056 ± 0.005 kg/s. Results showed that when the SAH was operated at the airflow between 0.0054 kg/s and 0.0058 kg/s, the inlet air temperature and the wind speed (between 0 and 6.0 m/s) did not impact the temperature difference between the outlet air and the inlet air. The thermal efficiency of the SAH increased from 34 ± 5% at the airflow between 0.021 kg/s and 0.023 kg/s, to 47 ± 6% at the airflow ranging from 0.032 kg/s to 0.038 kg/s, to 71 ± 4% at the airflow of 0.056 ± 0.005 kg/s. The maximum thermal efficiency of 75% was obtained at the airflow of 0.057 kg/s. The effective efficiency of the SAH was 32 ± 5% at the airflow between 0.021 kg/s and 0.023 kg/s, 42 ± 6% at the airflow ranging from 0.032 kg/s to 0.038 kg/s, and 46 ± 11% at the airflow of 0.056 ± 0.005 kg/s.
solar air heating, porous absorber layer, perforated back plate, thermal efficiency
ENERGIES, 2020, 13 (6)