Performance Evaluation of an Efficient Solar Dryer with a Backup Incinerator for Grated Cassava under Makurdi Humid Climate

International Journal of Environment and Bioenergy 03/2012; 1(2):131-139.

ABSTRACT An efficient hybrid solar dryer was designed and constructed at the University of
Agriculture, Makurdi, Nigeria. It consists of solar collector, drying chamber, and incinerator.
The dryer was used for drying at night. The sunshine days and cloudy days drying were
assumed to have taken place in the falling rate period which enabled the use of only one
drying constant. This was used test drying termed no load test (without any farm produce)
and on load (wet grated cassava chips) and for other farm produce. The results obtained showed
that drying was fastest during the solar drying and least during the incinerator drying and the control
drying, respectively. The mean location drying rate efficiencies obtained were 98.8%, 94.7%, and
87.4% for solar dryer, solar-incinerator dryer and incinerator dryer, respectively. The computed
efficiencies for the equipment were 56%, 13% and 16% for solar dryer, solar incinerator dryer and
incinerator dryer, respectively. The dryers can be used to substitute gari dehydration and drying of
other farm produce in rural and semi-urban areas for improved quality.

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    ABSTRACT: A hybrid solar dryer was designed and constructed using direct solar energy and a heat exchanger. The dryer consists of solar collector, reflector, heat exchanger cum heat storage unit and drying chamber. The drying chamber was located under the collector. The dryer was operated during normal sunny days as a solar dryer, and during cloudy day as a hybrid solar dryer. Drying was also carried out at night with stored heat energy in water which was collected during the time of sun-shine and with electric heaters located at water tank. The efficiency of the solar dryer was raised by recycling about 65% of the drying air in the solar dryer and exhausting a small amount of it outside the dryer. Under Mid-European summer conditions it can raise up the air temperature from 30 to 40 °C above the ambient temperature. The solar dryer was tested for drying of ripe banana slices. The capacity of the dryer was to dry about 30 kg of banana slices in 8 h in sunny day from an initial moisture content of 82% to the final moisture content of 18% (wb). In the same time it reduced to only 62% (wb) moisture content in open sun drying method. The colour, aroma and texture of the solar dried products were better than the sun drying products.
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