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Solar Engineering - Performance Analysis of Solar Thermal Devices

In this free online course, you will learn about some solar thermal devices and analyse their performance.

Publisher: NPTEL
In this free online course on solar thermal devices, you will learn about solar thermal technology’s latest developments and research trends. This course covers solar air heaters/dryers and solar concentrating collectors of various types. You will see how they compare against each other in terms of performance, thermal efficiency, cost, commercial applicability, and installation requirements.
Solar Engineering - Performance Analysis of Solar Thermal Devices
  • Duration

    4-5 Hours
  • Students

  • Accreditation






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This course on solar thermal engineering and devices conveys the immense potential of the heat that we get from the sun and its prospect as a significant source of energy in the future. For most people, solar energy utilisation brings to mind vast arrays of photovoltaic (PV) systems. The sun, however, is a source of not just light, but also a significant amount of heat. Scientists and engineers have been working on capturing and storing this heat and even using it for electricity generation. In this course, you will learn about some of these ingenious methods being employed to utilise solar thermal energy commercially and the degree of success achieved so far. How efficient are these devices? Can they compete with solar photovoltaics as the energy sources of the future? Dive into this fascinating course to find the answers to these intriguing questions. 

The first part of this course explains solar air heaters. When you learn the fundamentals of air heaters and their advantages, the simplicity of the technology will amaze you. Needless to say, it has its challenges and disadvantages. You will learn about the latest techniques and trends to combat these challenges and extract the maximum possible heat for various applications, such as drying and electricity generation. Next, you will learn about the technology that surpasses air heaters in collecting solar thermal energy. These are the concentrating collectors. You will see how these collectors concentrate solar radiation at a point or along a line to obtain very high temperatures suitable for heat storage and electricity production. The collectors are of various types and capacities. You will learn to classify and compare them based on their designs, working principles, temperatures achieved, and commercial maturity.

Why do we need to harvest solar thermal energy when mature technology such as solar PV is readily available? Solar energy is by far the most promising and essential energy source being considered for the earth’s sustainable future. PV systems alone cannot meet all the demands on solar energy, not to mention that solar cells are expensive. Converting electrical energy into thermal energy for simple heating and drying does not even make economic sense when solar thermal energy is freely available. Therefore, it is imperative that we tap into the considerable amount of thermal energy flowing towards the earth from the sun and utilise a minuscule portion of it in our process industries and power plants. This topic thus forms an integral part of solar energy engineering. This course will be beneficial for anyone pursuing a career in sustainable energy and sustainable development. Are you one of them? Don’t wait any longer. Leap right in and satisfy your curiosity!

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