Irrihub Ke offers solar dryers, a pivotal technology in harnessing solar energy, for perishable farm produce post-harvest processing. The dryers are popularly used for reducing the water content of vegetables, fruits and some cereals to percentages that elongate their shelf-life. Typical solar-dried produce in Kenya includes coffee, cassava, tomatoes, mangoes, pepper, millet, herbs such as thyme and mint, mushroom and groundnuts. The produce is procedurally cut or ground into small pieces before being laid on the drying shelves.
While open-air drying has been culturally practiced among some communities in Kenya, the use of solar dryers has the edge over it. Solar dryers dry the product within a shorter period and retain the higher nutritional value of the produce. The controlled environment minimizes contamination and the risk of spoilage. The dryer cover has anti-drip properties that prevent moisture condensation on the surface. This is critical in preventing fungal development.
Types of Dryers
There are direct and indirect solar dryers, with a significant difference in the drying mechanism. Direct solar dryers reduce water content in fresh produce laid on shelves through direct solar heat. In contrast, the functionality of indirect dryers is based on the heat transmittance of a dark surface.
Further, the dryers are classified into active and passive dryers. Active dryers operate on a principle similar to that of a greenhouse. The polythene-covered structure absorbs and retains heat, causing a greenhouse effect which results in moisture loss from the produce. The moist air exits from a vent. Active solar dryers operate based on the same principle but with the inclusion of fans to force air circulation. An inlet fan induces a flow of air into the dryer while an outlet fan sacks out hot moist air from the dryer.
- Metallic Frame of varied sizes,
- Drying benches
- 200 microns UV treated polythene paper
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