The global demand for energy is ever increasing; however, the world has a limited number of fossil fuels available. Therefore, alternative renewable energy sources must be utilized. For this reason, solar thermal collectors have become an increasingly popular method for providing hot water or space heating. However, solar thermal collectors are most commonly used in areas that experience warm climates throughout the year. In areas that experience seasonal climates, the cold temperatures and harsh climate conditions significantly reduce the performance of solar thermal collectors during the winter months. This thesis examined the potential that the implementation of a windbreak could have on improving the performance of a solar collector, by reducing the wind induced convection losses, during winter climate conditions. In order to determine the effect of the windbreak, two collectors were operated simultaneously and side by side, one of which had a windbreak. The expected wind direction was from the northwest, so the windbreak was positioned on the westward side of the eastward collector. In this position, a northwest wind would pass over the first collector unhindered and the windbreak would provide shelter to the second collector. The performance of two collectors was measured by calculating and comparing the instantaneous efficiencies. Data was collected during February 2010 and October and November 2010. The results indicated that both wind speed and wind direction will impact the effect that the windbreak has. As one would expect, during non-windy days there was no significant difference observed between the two collectors. On Windy days in which the wind came from the expected wind direction, the windbreak appeared improve the collector's performance. However, due to the uncertainty in the measurements, and the limited number of data points, a definitive declaration cannot be made.
Date of Degree
Master of Science (MS)
Mechanical and Civil Engineering
Science, Engineering and Technology
Watts, M. (2011). Investigation into the Potential Use of Windbreaks to Improve Solar Collector Performance [Master’s thesis, Minnesota State University, Mankato]. Cornerstone: A Collection of Scholarly and Creative Works for Minnesota State University, Mankato. https://cornerstone.lib.mnsu.edu/etds/185/
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