Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Agricultural Engineering

First Advisor

Dennis Moe


The United States agricultural system provides numerous opportunities in which solar energy can be utilized. Low to moderate temperature rise collectors can provide a large percentage of the energy requirements normally met by using high quality fossil fuels. As world demand for food production increases due to a growing population, alternative sources of energy need to be developed and applied as substitutes for these increasingly scarce fossil fuels. Agriculture offers practical advantages for the use of solar heat energy because there exists sufficient area for solar collectors and a wide range of temperature applications on most farmsteads. Demand for energy on the farm peaks during the fall and winter months when energy is simultaneously required for space heating of livestock and poultry buildings and for crop drying. However, during these months, the quantity of solar insolation available is at its lowest level. Therefore, a solar energy system designed to collect the most energy possible would be of great importance. One way to increase the solar heat collected is through the use of a concentrator system that continually tracks the sun's movement. By using this system, 10.0 to 93.3° C (50 to 200° F) temperature rises can be achieved and a smaller collector can be used due to more precise focusing. A tracking mechanism also enables more solar energy to be collected during the early morning and late afternoon hours, than with a non-tracking solar concentrator system. A solar concentrator with tracking abilities has the potential to provide these advantages, provided a simple control mechanism for the intensifier can be designed. The cost of the control mechanism can be reduced by using a periodic manual adjustment on the intensifier to maintain a precise focusing of sunlight on the collector. To investigate this method of maximizing the solar heat collected during the fall and winter, research was conducted with the following objectives: 1. Design a solar energy-intensifier system with multiple use capabilities. 2. Evaluate the thermal efficiency and energy collecting ability of a solar energy-intensifier system with sun tracking and non-tracking capabilities under actual climatic conditions.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Solar energy
Solar collectors
Sun trackers




South Dakota State University