Identification of Suitable Material for Solar Thermal Collector in Rural Areas of Zaria Nigeria

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Author(s) Eke, Akachukwu Ben
Pages 834-841
Volume 3
Issue 8
Date August, 2013
Keywords Solar, Energy, Collector, Crop, Drying, Drying efficiencies

Abstract

Energy usage is indispensible inhuman development and a major determination factor in technological development. However, artificial energy supply is generally low and scarce in rural areas of Nigeria. Hence, this work is aimed at performance evaluation of commonly available solar thermal energy collector materials in Zaria, Nigeria, and to identify the most appropriate solar thermal energy collector material to enhance useful energy availability to rural dwellers. Commonly available local materials, such as wood, cement, mud and metal were each employed to fabricate a solar dryer. Thermal energy generation of the dryers were monitored and sliced tomato was utilized to test-run the dryers, while open sun drying was used as control. The average air outlet temperature for wood, cement, mud and metal solar collectors increased to 119.2, 123.1, 128.9 and 129.5 respectively over the average ambient air temperature of 30.5 oC. Tomato drying an\alysis of the solar dryers indicated that wood, cement, mud and metal dryers had 46, 47, 60 and 60 percent savings in drying time respectively, when compared with open sun drying. Likewise, the solar dryers drying efficiency of open sun drying system, wood, cement and metal solar dryers were 7.38, 19.56, 20.25, 26.91 and 27.00 percent in that order. Mud solar dryer has the lowest production cost of ten thousand naira, while the percentage increase in prices of cement, wood, and metal dryers against the mud dryer were 109.40%, 77.20% and 200% respectively. Based on the results and the cost of production of the dryers, mud was identified as commonly available, affordable and most suitable material for construction of direct mode natural convection solar dryer for rural farmers in Zaria, Nigeria.

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