A STUDY OF A FORCED CONVECTIVE BIOMASS DRYER FOR PLANTAIN CHIPS
Post-harvest processing of plantain to improve the market value is today an important aspect of the product supply chain. This study investigated a forced convective biomass dryer for plantain processing. Numerical simulation and experimental analysis were used to evaluate the performance of the biomass dryer and to optimize the drying process of plantain chips. The heat flow patterns within the drying chamber at air velocity of 1.5 m/s, 2.5 m/s and 3.5 m/s were predicted numerically and validated experimentally. A 5kg of fresh plantain at initial moisture content of 60% dried to moisture content of 13% was used to examine the drying rate of the biomass dryer. The mean drying rate was 0.0140 kg/h while the open sun drying rate was 0.0035 kg/h, indicating that the forced convective biomass dryer has considerable advantage over the traditional sun drying method in terms of drying rate, hygiene and produce quality. This study provides generic data towards enhancing the post-harvest processing of the agricultural product using biomass fuel.