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MS Thesis Defense: Tucker Oddleifson



3:00pm - 4:30pm ET

Jackson Conf Rm / Online

For optional Zoom link, please email

"Solar air heating for small structures in the High Arctic"


Indigenous hunters and fishers in the High Arctic seek affordable off-grid passive heating for small structures, such as fishing huts and cabins, as an alternative that uses energy from the environment instead of the currently-used portable kerosene heaters. Solar air heating offers a reasonable-cost, sustainable method for the space heating of small buildings, but there is a dearth of research investigating the application of passive solar heating in the High Arctic. The goal for the research described in this paper was to develop a portable solar air heater capable of heating a fishing hut or small home in the High Arctic and to predict the thermal performance of the building with the solar air heater based on environmental data and assumptions about heat transfer in the building due to its patterns of use by the occupants.

This research involved design of the solar air heater based on constraints communicated by a fisherperson in the High Arctic, numerical heat transfer analysis of the solar air heater, thermal modeling of the solar air heater on a fishing hut and small home, and experimental outdoor testing of a prototype. The outcome of this research is a prototype that generates over 1000 W of heating power using a 1.1m by 1.7m panel. Outdoor testing of the prototype agrees with results from the numerical heat transfer analysis. Based on the thermal modeling, the prototype is capable of supplying the necessary heating power to keep a fishing hut at a comfortable temperature in Qaanaaq, Greenland during the ice-fishing season. The model also demonstrates the prototype’s ability to reduce heating demand from a kerosene heater in a small home. This research contributes to low-cost decarbonization of heating systems of small structures during the summertime in the High Arctic and presents an opportunity for reducing the use of unvented kerosene heaters indoors.

Thesis Committee

  • Chair: Mary Albert, PhD
  • Benoit Cushman-Roisin, PhD
  • Stephen Doig, PhD


For more information, contact Theresa Fuller at