An enhanced forced convective multi-pass solar air heating collector (MPSAHC) system aided with granite pebble bed has been investigated in this present article. The air heating collector system was tested in the outdoor solar research site of Universiti Teknologi PETRONAS, Malaysia (4.385693° N and 100.979203° E). Transport pipe for movement of heated air around the system was eliminated in the design of the MPSAHC facility to minimise the thermal losses, pressure drop and the pumping cost of the hot air in the control volume. The daily ambient temperature and relative humidity range recorded during the repeated tests are 21.09–36.64 °C and 48.04–87.9%, respectively. The collector unit achieved a peak temperature of 80.29 °C while the optimum system air mass flow rate of 0.016 kgs−1 was applied. Despite high relative humidity of the environment, the stream of ambient air was heated to 48.53 °C, 57.75 °C and 71.19 °C at different positions in the MPSAHC which correspond to single pass, double pass and multi-pass effects, respectively. The porous matrix exhibited slow energy discharge at night time with air temperature difference of 14.27 °C at 18:00 h to 4.54 °C at 24:00 h over environmental air temperature. MPSAHC system delivered specific energy demand (SED) of 11.51 kWh kg−1 while the maximum thermal collector and daily average transient collector efficiencies of 72.59% and 36.38% were achieved, respectively. A good agreement has been established between reported studies and the present investigation. Although continuity of system operation at night was achieved using porous matrix but improvement is still needed to optimise the system performance.
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