In this analysis, forced convective heat transfer characteristics of Al2O3-water nanofluid through a porous channel with several combinations of heaters and coolers is investigated numerically. The two-dimensional equations governing nanofluid flow and heat transfer through porous media are discretized using in-house code with Streamline Upwind Petrov Galerkin-based Finite Element Method. Darcy–Brinkman–Forchheimer’s generalized porous media model is used in this study. The average Nusselt number of basefluid without porous media, nanofluid with and without porous media cases are compared for different Peclet numbers and the effect of Peclet number on stream lines and isotherms are studied for nanofluid with and without porous media cases. In addition to this the effect of Darcy number, porosity, and nanoparticle volume fraction on the performance of average Nusselt number is investigated. From these results, it is observed that the average Nusselt number increases with decrease in Darcy number. From this analysis, it can be concluded that addition of porous media results in enhancement of heat transfer and can be used as a potential technique for electronic cooling applications. © 2018 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.