An Active Indirect Solar System for Food Products Drying
Faculty of Chemical Technology, Kabul Polytechnic University, Kart-e Mamoorin, Kabul, Afghanistan
a Institute of Chemical and Environmental Engineering, Slovak University of Technology in Bratislava, Radlinského 9, 81237 Bratislava, Slovakia
Abstract: An energy independent active indirect solar drying system for the study of food products drying at specific climate conditions was developed and tested. As a model material, sliced tomato was selected because of its short shelf live, high humidity and potential to be a high value dried product. Indirect solar dryer enabled complete protection of the dried material against sunlight, birds, insects, rain and dust during the drying process. The solar dryer system design includes a rectangular section (1000 × 600 × 400) mm chamber and a flat solar collector (1500 × 600 × 100) mm with the surface area of 0.9 m2. Air flow was induced by a fan installed at the inlet of the collector and powered by a photovoltaic solar panel and a battery system. Temperature and humidity of air were monitored at the collector inlet, collector outlet and the drying chamber outlet. The key element of the collector is a 10.5 m long rectangular section aluminum pipe (55 × 35) mm coated with an absorption layer. The maximum dryer capacity is around 3 kg of wet material (sliced tomato) per batch. Average air temperature increase in the collector was measured to be 30 °C during the winter season. Air relative humidity decreased from 21 % to 15 % after passing through the collector. The moisture of tomato slices decreased from the initial value of 92 % down to 22 % during the time of the experiment (30 h). Quality of tomatoes dried using the designed solar dryer differed significantly in color as well as in texture from those dried by the commonly used methods, like an open sun drying system. Equilibrium moisture content of the product was reached after 30 h in December when the maximum outside temperature was 17.6 °C. The tomato mass decreased from 333 g to 33.15 g; the mass loss being approximately 90 %. The heated air temperature and humidity at the dryer inlet and outlet were influenced by the change of the ambient temperature and humidity during the day. Variation of the drying rate with the change of the ambient temperature and humidity was observed. During summer, when the sun radiation increases, the drying time for sliced tomato with 9 mm thickness decreased from 25 h to 15 h. The sample thickness also has an impact on the drying process. When the sample thickness increased from 9 mm to 12 mm, the drying time increased from 15 h to 20 h of active device time.
Keywords: Active indirect solar dryer, renewable energy, drying, upland condition, sliced tomatoes
Full paper in Portable Document Format: acs_0337.pdf
Acta Chimica Slovaca, Vol. 12, No. 1, 2019, pp. 142—149, DOI: 10.2478/acs-2019-0020