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Low-Cost Solar Collectors to Pre-heat Ventilation Air in Broiler Buildings

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

Citation:  2021 ASABE Annual International Virtual Meeting  2100619.(doi:10.13031/aim.202100619)
Authors:   Yi Liang, Michael Janorschke, Chad E. Hayes
Keywords:   Energy consumption, Energy efficiency, Ventilation, Solar thermal.

Abstract. Solar air heaters have the potential to reduce heating loads in commercial meat bird production, therefore, decrease the amount of fossil fuel such as natural gas or propane when brooding young chickens. The objective of this study was to evaluate a low-cost solar collector to pre-heat ventilation air in commercial broiler buildings in order to reduce supplemental heating and potentially improve air quality. Six black fabric-based solar collectors of 36 m2 each were installed on south-facing rooftops of a commercial-scale broiler house. The solar collectors provided a portion of fresh air into the buildings during the ON cycle of minimum ventilation. During the OFF cycle of minimum ventilation, when the temperature under the collectors was higher than the house target temperature, additional warm air under the solar collectors was delivered continuously into the house. The daily cumulative duration of solar collectors in operation averaged 125 and 133 min during the first two or four weeks of brooding in the fall and winter flocks, respectively. When in operation, the solar collectors were able to raise 20ºC than the ambient temperature, reducing fuel usage of 7% in the fall and winter flocks. The biggest challenge of solar collector utilization was the collectors not enclosing the fresh air inlets, allowing majority of the air entering from sidewall vents. The limited airflow capacity and limited active operation of the solar collectors due to existing minimum ventilation scheme is another reason of a small amount of heating fuel savings.

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