team photo

Figure 1
project photo

Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering
Team 19

Team Members

Advisor

Frederick Calkins
Mathieu Roy
Rian Wu
Joseph Zavorskas

Richard Parnas

sponsored by
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Keney Park Solar Thermal

The Keney Park Sustainability Project has sponsored our senior design team to install a solar thermal heating system for its greenhouse in Hartford. The goal of this project is to allow a greenhouse to produce crops throughout the winter. Our system supplements propane heating with solar energy and reduces fossil fuel use in the winter by up to half. Solar energy is collected by a heat transfer fluid and stored by heating a tank of water, which is used to heat plants throughout the greenhouse. A ‘mini-greenhouse’ design increases the efficiency of the system by confining any heat given off, reducing heat loss. The time-dependent temperature distribution in the ‘mini-greenhouse’ will be modeled using finite element modeling in COMSOL. This COMSOL study models natural convection from a pipe to determine an ideal radiator configuration for heating plants on a tiered growing shelf. The group will produce a proposal to Keney Park including a bill of materials, a piping and instrumentation diagram, and any manufacturers or contractors needed to install the solar thermal system. The food produced by the system will be donated to Hartford Public Schools, a school system that serves a food-insecure community. Solar heating is a cleaner source of energy than propane, so installing solar thermal will reduce CO2 emissions and the greenhouses’ contribution to Hartford air pollution.