Solar air heaters (SAHs) are the simplest form of nonconcentrating thermal collectors. SAHs utilize solar thermal energy to increase the temperature of air for thermal applications of less than 80 °C. The energy efficiency of SAHs is significantly low due to poor convective heat transfer between the absorber and the air medium. In this present study, it is aimed to increase the convective heat transfer by modifying the absorber and the type of air flow inside the duct. Experimental studies were performed to study about the energy and exergy efficiencies of SAH with the absorber of longitudinal circular fins. The thermal analysis of the SAH is evaluated for five mass flow rates of 30, 45, 60, 75, and 90 kg/h m2 flowing inside the duct of thickness 100 mm. The impact of the flow rate on the absorber and air temperature, temperature difference (ΔT), energy and exergy efficiencies, irreversibility, improvement potential, sustainability, and CO2 reduction potential is studied. The experimental results show that the first and second laws of thermodynamic efficiency increase from 44.13% to 56.98% and from 24.98% to 36.62% by increasing the flow rate from 30 to 90 kg/h m2. The results conclude that the air flow duration inside the duct plays an important role in efficiency of the solar air heater. Therefore, lower flow rate is preferred to achieve maximum outlet air temperature and temperature difference.

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