Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Agricultural Engineering

First Advisor

Mylo A. Hellickson


Solar energy is widely recognized as an essentially inexhaustible energy source that has the potential to make major contributions to energy needs of various agricultural and industrial operations. Low quality heat produced from a low-temperature, inexpensive solar collector can be efficiently utilized to provide supplemental heat to livestock confinement buildings, harvested crop drying, or service water heating. Ample area for collectors, energy capacity for back-up and peak demand, and a wide range of applications enhance the potential for agricultural solar systems. Several factors of consideration exist in the design and development of a successful solar heating system. First, thermal energy collection ceases during the nighttime hours when the largest heat load is required from the system. Second, peak demand for the multi-purpose solar system is during the fall and winter months when the available direct solar radiation is at its lowest level in the Great Plains region. Third, a simple, economical, and reliable solar system should be designed to fulfill energy needs of several agricultural applications throughout the year. The use of a reflector with a solar collector allows a higher concentration of insolation onto the absorbing surface. Therefore, less collector surface area is required for a desired energy output, when compared to a collector system without a reflector. Consequently, total thermal losses maybe reduced as a result of the reduction in collector surface area. It has been shown that the concentrator cost per unit area may be lower than the unit area cost of many collectors. Therefore, the use of a concentrating system may lower the cost and improve the performance of the overall system. A thermal energy storage unit can be utilized to provide heat energy to the agricultural application during the night when the lowest ambient temperatures occur. Solar energy has not generally been competitive with other conventional energy sources because of high initial capital costs per unit of energy return for most collector systems. In order for solar energy to compete as an alternative to conventional fuels for agricultural use, design, performance, reliability, and economic feasibility of solar systems must continually improve. A solar energy intensifier-thermal energy storage (SEI-TES) system was designed at South Dakota State University to incorporate these desirable characteristics. Research was conducted to determine the feasibility of the multiple-use SEI-TES system with the following objectives: 1. Evaluate the performance characteristics of the SEI-TES. 2. Evaluate the economic feasibility and potential energy savings of a multiple-use SEI-TES.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Solar heating
Heat storage devices
Swine -- Housing



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University