Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering

First Advisor

Mylo A. Hellickson


The urgency for energy independence in the United States is unprecedented in its history. The demand for energy is reflected in rising fuel costs which affects every segment of the economy. Among the most severely affected sectors is the agriculture industry, whose fossil fuel consumption is crucial to its efficient production of food and fiber. Solar, one of several alternative energy sources being developed nationwide has unique possibilities in the U.S. agriculture system. Large areas are available for locating collector units, and the energy requirements in the farm are low compared with the available radiation falling on the area. Drying of harvested crops and space heating of farm buildings can efficiently utilize low quality heat which can be generated with simple, inexpensive, solar equipment. Consequently, the agriculture industry has excellent opportunities to develop widespread application of solar energy systems. At least three serious problems exist in the development of a successful agricultural solar system. First, the seasonal variability of solar radiation, in the Great Plains region, is such that when the demand for energy on the farm peaks during the fall and winter, the amount of available radiation is at its lowest level. Second, thermal energy collection ceases during nighttime hours when the coldest temperatures occur. The third problem is the design and construction of an economical and reliable system that can be used for more than one application to increase its annual utilization. A contractor system can be used to intensify low level solar radiation onto a small collector and thereby achieve the required temperature range for agricultural applications. A thermal energy storage unit can be used to allow nighttime delivery of energy collected during the day. Finally, by producing air temperatures that are compatible with both grain drying and preheating of ventilation air, a single system can be utilized for a greater number of days during the year. A solar energy intensifier-thermal energy storage (SEI-TES) system was designed to incorporate all three of the aspects and to enhance the feasibility of solar energy for agriculture use. A unique location for the thermal energy storage unit in the system was included in the design to reduce heat losses and improve performance. To investigate the feasibility of the multiple-use SEI-TES system, research was conducted with the following objectives: 1. Test the SEI-TES for preheating swine house ventilation air under actual operating conditions. 2. Evaluate the performance and operating characteristics of the SEI-TES system.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Swine -- Housing -- Heating and ventilation.
Solar heating.
Solar energy in agriculture.



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University