Design and Economic Analysis of a Solar Thermal Pre-Cooling System for Agro-Cold Chain in Lesotho




Solar Thermal Cooling, Lesotho, Agricultural, Absorption Cooling, TRNSYS, Co-Efficient of Performance, Post-Harvest Losses, Economic Analysis


The agricultural sector in Lesotho grapples with significant challenges regarding post-harvest losses. Given that 40% of all agricultural products require cold storage, food quality is compromised due to lack of cold storage to extract the heat from exposure to high field temperatures after harvest. This research proposes a solar thermal cooling system tailored to the specific needs of preserving fresh agricultural produce, leveraging Lesotho’s abundant solar energy resources. Through TRNSYS simulation and MATLAB economic analysis, optimal system parameters are determined, ensuring both technical efficiency and financial viability.

The outcomes indicate that the proposed absorption solar thermal cooling system, incorporating evacuated tube collectors and an auxiliary boiler, effectively manages a cooling load of 7.318 kW, preserving fresh vegetables at 6.1°C. The optimized design features a chiller with a Coefficient of Performance of 0.8, a collector area of 12 m², and a hot storage volume of 0.2 m³, maximizing solar energy utilization. Importantly, economic metrics such as Levelized Cost of Energy ($0.085/kWh), Net Present Value ($9,200), Discounted Payback Period (12 years), and Savings to Investment Ratio (achieving 1 in year 13) demonstrate the financial feasibility and profitability of the system.

These findings underscore the potential of solar thermal cooling as a promising investment option for addressing refrigeration needs in Lesotho, offering a sustainable solution to mitigate post-harvest losses and enhance economic performance in the agricultural sector.


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How to Cite

Yengane, M., Mokeke, S., & Mpholo, M. (2024). Design and Economic Analysis of a Solar Thermal Pre-Cooling System for Agro-Cold Chain in Lesotho . International Sustainable Energy Conference - Proceedings, 1.

Conference Proceedings Volume


Solar Thermal and Energy Efficiency for Sub-Saharan Africa‘s Industry and Commerce