Design, Construction and Testing of a Hybrid Photovoltaic (PV) Solar Dryer

JB Hussein, MA Hassan, SA Kareem, KB Filli
2017 International Journal of Engineering Research and Science  
A hybrid photovoltaic solar dryer was designed, constructed and tested in the Department of Food Science and Technology, Modibbo Adama University of Technology Yola, Nigeria. The thin layer drying behaviour of tomato slices using a hybrid drying method compared to solar and open sun drying was investigated. The dryer consists of solar collector, photovoltaic solar panel, battery and drying chamber. The dryer was operated as both a solar-energy dryer and as a hybrid solar dryer. The drying
more » ... mance of the dryer was evaluated with fresh tomato slice and compared with open sun drying under the same climatic conditions. The dryer recorded a raised temperature of 62℃ attainable in the drying chamber of hybrid dryer and 54 o C attainable in the drying chamber of solar dryer. The moisture content of tomato slices was reduced from 94.22 % wet basis to 10 % in 6 hours for hybrid drying method while it took 9 hours to achieve the same moisture content reduction in the solar dryer. The average drying rate and the efficiency was computed as 0.0800kg/h and 71% for hybrid dryer and 0.0578kg/h and 65% for solar-energy dryer respectively. The quality of the tomato samples dried using the hybrid dryer was superior to those of solar and sun drying methods. From the result of this study it shows that a hybrid solar-energy dryer using photovoltaic (PV) solar panel suggested a promising process for adoption to preserve tomato which can prevent it from spoilage and post-harvest losses. The good quality and shelf stable dried tomato slices is indicative for a sustainable productivity that will create a sound avenue for economic growth in tomato producing regions of the world. Keywords-design, hybrid dryer, photovoltaic solar panel, solar dryer and tomatoes. I. INTRODUCTION Drying traditionally using the sun is the oldest preservation technique of agricultural products worldwide which dates back to human civilization. To date, open sun drying is still widely used for preservation of agricultural products in the tropics and subtropical regions of the world. The traditional practice of open sun drying however has inherent limitations which includes; high crop losses due to inadequate drying to safe water activity, microbial/enzymic attacks as a result of longer drying time, insects, birds and rodents encroachment, unexpected weather changes without control and other effects environmental elements [1] . With such drawbacks of open sun drying, the adoption of solar-energy based dryers demonstrates increasingly more attractive and promising for applications as commercial propositions. Solar drying can simply be considered as an elaboration of sun drying, and it is an efficient system of utilizing solar energy [2] . As an alternative to open sun drying, solar energy dryers avail farmers with possibility of improved post-harvest management system that is sustainable for increased economic growth that will overcome most drawbacks of the traditional open sun drying systems by yielding products which is acceptable to both national and international standards [3, 4] . In addition the solar drying systems have added advantages of savings in energy, time and space requirements during drying operations which add up to making the method not only more efficient but also more environmentally friendly without constituting any danger to the environment [5, 6]. Solar energy for crop drying is environmentally friendly and economically viable in the developing countries of the world. It's also form a sustainable energy utilization that has a great potential for wide variety of applications because it is abundant and accessible, especially for countries located in the tropical region of the world like Nigeria. Solar-energy drying systems overcomes the drawbacks of traditional open sun drying such as, contamination from dust, insects, birds and animals, lack of control over drying conditions, possibility of chemical, enzymic, and microbial spoilage due to longer drying times [2, 4] . Solar-energy drying offers an alternative which can be exploited to preserve vegetables and fruits in clean, hygienic and sanitary conditions that can be acceptable by the consumer. The process saves energy, time, occupies less drying area, improves product quality, makes the process more efficient and protects the environment [1, 5, 6]. However, one significant disadvantage of solar-energy dryer is that it can only be used during the daytime when there is adequate solar radiation for conversion to heat. Solar dryers are constructed normally with no any form of back-up heating
doi:10.25125/engineering-journal-ijoer-may-2017-4 fatcat:ffcdjqvryvhptetvk36pxlf3ge