Isaac De Jong, Joel Dykstra, and Ola Ilelaboye
The Dordt College Engineering Department is actively looking at ways to expand current lab equipment on the roof of the Charles Adams Engineering Building. To meet this need, we designed and installed a system of instrumented set of solar panels to heat air that will allow students to experiment with active solar heating. Current commercially-available solar hot air systems have limited user adaptability in positioning and airflow.
Our solar heating system consists of three solar panels, each from a different manufacturer (Solar Sheet 1500 GS, RREAL SPF32, and Solar Way 6000). The angle of each panel can be adjusted independently, allowing the collectors to face the sun at different angles. The fan speed blowing air through the system can be varied and the path of airflow through the panels can be adjusted so that it flows through each panel heats the same air (series) or each panel heats different air (parallel) before the air is introduced to an interior space. Purchasing three different collectors also will allow students to compare panel design, quality, and performance over their useful lives. The system is also designed to withstand harsh weather conditions and the changing seasons over many years of operation.