Thai Solar Power

Performance of a solar dryer using hot air

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Courtesy of Thai Solar Power

A solar dryer for drying herbs and spices using hot air from roof-integrated solar collectors was developed. The dryer is a bin type with a rectangular perforated floor. The bin has a dimension of 1.0 m!2.0 m!0.7 m. Hot air is supplied to the dryer from fiberglass-covered solar collectors, which also function as the roof of a farmhouse. The total area of the solar collectors is 72 m2. To investigate its performance, the dryer was used to dry four batches of rosella flowers and three batches of lemon-grasses during the year 2002–2003. The dryer can be used to dry 200 kg of rosella flowers and lemon-grasses within 4 and 3 days, respectively. The products being dried in the dryer were completely protected from rains and insects and the dried products are of high quality. The solar air heater has an average daily efficiency of 35% and it performs well both as a solar collector and a roof of a farmhouse.

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