Term of Award

Spring 1985

Degree Name

Master of Technology

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (restricted to Georgia Southern)

Committee Chair

Keith F. Hickman

Committee Member 1

Earl R. Andrews

Committee Member 2

Lewis R. Selvidge, Jr.

Abstract

During the "Energy Crisis" of the seventies, people began to realize that the fossil fuels, that we have for so long depended on, would not last forever. Engineers and scientists began to look in new directions for another energy source. The energy needed to be both inexpensive and clean. One of the possible energy sources was the sun. Not necessarily because solar energy was something new, but because of rising fuel costs and the development of solid state physics in the area of photoelectric cells, solar energy was seen as one of the best alternatives for the future.

The National Science Foundation/National Aeronautics and Space Administration Solar Energy Panel (NSF/NASA) identified three broad solar applications as the most promising in regards to technology, economics, and energy criteria. These are: (1) the heating and cooling of residential and commercial buildings; (2) the chemical and biological conversion of organic materials to liquid, solid, and gaseous fuels; and (3) the generation of electricity (I7, p. 2) .

The agricultural industry of the United States depends heavily on fossil fuels. All of the above three points can be applied to agricultural applications. For example, solar heating and cooling can be used to control the environment of chicken houses or livestock barns. Also, solar heating can be used for a faster and more economical way to dry agricultural products. The conversion of organic wastes to fuel could one day run the farm tractor and the production of electric power from solar energy could one day run the whole farm.

There are three major aspects to the idea of something being feasible. First of all, is the project neconomically feasible? This idea deals with a cost benefit ration, and rate of return. Secondly, is the project finanically feasible? This deals with cash flow. Thirdly, is the project technologically feasible?

In this thesis, an attempt will be made to establish the feasibility of all these points in relation to solar assisted heating and powering of an agricultural structure.

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