Thursday, October 13, 2022

Solar drier in Kenya

Solar drier in Kenya is a technology that helps farmers to dry their farm produce hygienically.
Preservation and storage of products are one of the main hurdles faced by farmers in developing countries. 
Solar drying of agricultural produce is one of the essential and most viable solutions to the world’s food problem. 
This involves reducing the amount of food lost due to a lack of proper food preservation methods. Food preservation by solar drying is the only method to reduce food loss that is being adopted for many centuries. 
Various types of solar driers had been designed to overcome this problem. 
The type of drier depends on the product and different the drying process. 
Drying is a process of moisture removal due to simultaneous heat and mass transfer. 
It is a classical method of food preservation. The crops have longer storage life, become a lighter weight for transportation, can fit in smaller spaces for storage and become easy to process. 
Many products, however, must be dried at temperatures that are relatively less than 80 Degrees Celsius to achieve their desired quality. Open sun drying is the most commonly used method to preserve agricultural products such as grains, fruits, spices, meat, fish and vegetables in most developing countries.
Drying crops under a hostilclimateste can lead to severe losses in the quantity and quality of the product.
 Therefore, the introduction of solar driers can reduce crop losses and improve the quality of the dried crop significantly, compared to the traditional method of sun or shade drying. 
Most solar driers make use of direct solar radiation to dry the products. It involves concentrating heat radiation onto the surface of highly conductive material like a copper sheet which traps heat and is used to dry the crops by convection and radiation mechanisms. Solar driers in Kenya can be classified into three distinct categories depending on the mode of heat transfer from the sun to the crop; direct mode, indirect mode and mixed mode.
Shortage of energy is an issue in many countries, particularly those in the developing world. 
Even where conventional energy is plentiful, there is pressure to reduce the number of fossil fuels used. 
Concern over global warming is universal and this has focused our attention on renewable and non-polluting sources of energy. 
The solar drier in Kenya is affordable to many farmers and does not require any electrical power to function which enables the drier to be used in remote areas. 
For this purpose, the drier makes use of a Fresnel lens to capture solar energy and concentrate the heat on the crops placed in the closed chamber.
 The Fresnel lens is superior compared to a normal double convex lens, which increases the rate and efficiency of drying. Unlike the conventional drying technique, this method is safer, economical, faster and hygienic to use.
Drying may be required for several reasons. Mainly water is removed from the fresh crop to extend its useful life. 
Some crops such as grains may require drying so that they can be further processed. Fresh crops are sometimes dried to form a new product that is distinctively different from its original form, for example, sultanas. 
Several ways can be used to evaluate the technical performance of solar driers but economic and practical issues will often be more important in determining their acceptability. 
A solar drier can be designed using any one of several methodologies, but these are less well-developed than other solar technologies. Advances in designs, absorber and glazing materials, and control systems will bring improvements in the technical performance of solar driers and these will all contribute to the greater acceptance of a technology that can play an important role in a more sustainable world, particularly the food production system.


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