Effect of Site Specific Weather Conditions on the Energy Consumption of a High Temperature Continuous Flow Corn Dryer
Keywords:grain drying, simulation, energy balance, energy losses, ambient temperature
The estimation of drying energy consumption is important for grain elevators and the grain processing industry in order to compute the drying cost and also for properly planning the energy supply during the drying season. It is also important for making energy policies related to agriculture.
Locations with different weather should have different drying performances but this effect was not sufficiently studied in previous research. The main goal of this study was to determine the energy requirement for drying yellow dent corn with a continuous flow high temperature dryer for ten locations in Argentina with different weather conditions. The study was carried out using historical weather data of ten locations scattered through the corn producing region of Argentina, and a mathematical model to simulate the drying conditions of corn from 17 and 20% initial moisture content (m.c.i) to 15% final moisture content (m.c.f).
The specific total energy consumption for drying corn from 17% m.c.i was 8207 kJ per kg of water evaporated (kgw-1) and for 20% m.c.i was 5535 kJ kgw-1 on average across locations, resulting in an average drying efficiency of 31% for 17% m.c.i and 46% for 20% m.c.i. The specific convective heat losses to the ambient under the average weather condition of the locations considered were 196 kJ kgw-1 for 17% m.c.i, and 136 kJ kgw-1 for 20% m.c.i, less than 3% of the total drying energy. The ambient temperature affected the total drying energy, which, in general, decreased about 1.25% per each ° C of ambient temperature increase. Drying energy efficiency could be improved by selecting ambient temperature conditions.