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Evaluation of a Landscape Fabric Based Solar Air Heater in a Pig Nursery

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan

Citation:  2018 ASABE Annual International Meeting  1801405.(doi:10.13031/aim.201801405)
Authors:   Li Yu, Sanjay B. Shah, Mark T. Knauer, Mike D. Boyette
Keywords:   Landscape fabric, livestock heating, propane saving, solar air heater, transpired solar collector

Abstract. The conventional approach for livestock heating is with propane heaters. Increasing propane prices and the volatility in the fossil fuel market adversely affects the profitability of livestock production. Tempering fresh air entering the barn utilizing solar heat can reduce energy use, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and even improve indoor air quality. Metal transpired solar collectors (mTSCs) have proved to be technically feasible, but not cost-effective. Therefore, based on bench-scale study, dark grey landscape-fabric was used as the solar collector for its low cost. The landscape-fabric based transpired solar collector (fTSC) was installed as a façade on the southern sidewall of a pig nursery in Raleigh, NC, beginning Jan. 2018. The 12.7 m2 fTSC was designed for a maximum suction velocity of 0.038 m/s. Fresh air is pulled through the fTSC by the minimum ventilation fan and distributed into the swine nursery by continuous baffle. A bypass damper allows air to bypass the fTSC when heating is not needed. In addition to the fTSC performance, a control nursery, identical to the test nursery but without the fTSC will allow comparison of energy use, pig performance, and indoor air quality between the two treatments. Preliminary results of 2 weeks of monitoring are presented. The fTSC provided average and maximum temperature rise of 11.9 and 17.2°C, respectively, with an average heat recovery efficiency of 31% on a sunny day.

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