The external recycle effect on collector efficiency in an upward-type double-pass flat-plate solar air heater is investigated theoretically. Application of recycle to a solar air heater has two conflicting effects: the desirable effect of increasing the heat transfer coefficient and the undesirable effect of decreasing the heat transfer driving force (temperature difference). The theoretical predictions show that more than 150% improvement in collector efficiency is obtainable if external recycling is carried out in a way that the advantage effect compensates for the disadvantage effect. The collector performance improvement increases with increasing recycling ratio, especially when operating at a lower airflow rate with higher inlet air temperature. The collector efficiency obtained with a double-pass device with recycling improves the efficiency obtained with a single-pass device of the same size with recycling.
Chemical Engineering Communications 198(5), pp.652-667