Development of a Multi Agricultural Products Dryer using Biomass
Natural method of sun drying is weather dependent and time consuming which leads to spoilage and contamination of food crops. This research designed and experimentally tested a multi agricultural dryer using solar energy and biomass, capable of drying agricultural produce anytime of the day in a hygiene environment. The experimental setup consists of the biomass combustion chamber with inbuilt heat exchanger, the dryer and data collection instruments. Tomatoes, Okra and bitter leaf were dried, their relative humidity, moisture content, weight loss and temperature variation in the drying chamber were monitored. The maximum temperature reached in the drying chamber when drying tomato, okra and bitter leaf were 95.7oC, 87.1oC 73.4oC respectively, with a drying rate of 0.1248 kg/h, 0.1876 kg/h, 0.0780 kg/h, respectively at a steady air flow rate of 1.3 m/s. The dryer had an efficiency of 45% and effectiveness of the heat exchanger is 0.077 at an average combustion temperature of 1300oC. The uniqueness of the machine is that it reduces the drying time and products are free from environment contaminations and rodents’ invasion. Thus agricultural crop samples can be preserved year-round irrespective of weather conditions and at a faster rate with the developed machine.