Development of a Small Scale Biomass Based Dryer for Horticulture Produce

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M. Tech Project -II (TD 696)
Post-harvest losses of agriculture and horticultural products are attributed to about 33% of the total harvest in India. Major reasons behind it is the seasonal and perishable nature and lack of appropriate post-harvest technology. Lack of continuous and reliable electric supply is also an issue for interventions like cold storages or electric dryers. Technologies like Solar Dryers have its own limitations like intermittent operations, no temperature control etc. An appropriate technology operating on renewable energy sources especially biomass and affordable to users could bring a big difference to the situation. The present study focuses on the performance evaluation biomass powered horticulture dryer. The convective hot air, cabinet type dryer is designed and the experiments are conducted on two different commodities: onion and beetroot. The performance of dryer is investigated at half loading capacity and full loading capacity. Experimental data obtained were fitted into three empirical models. The performance of drying models was compared based on their correlation coefficient(R2 ) and standard error values. Newton model showed the best fit for the drying behavior. The qualitative analysis of the dried produce showed that the produce is safe for storage both in terms of water activity and colour changes. The economic analysis of the dryer tells that, the payback period of dryer is 2.43 years. The sensitivity analysis is done to find the changes in payback period with the changes in the various input parameters. The results from sensitivity analysis suggest that the major contributors to the cost are raw material cost and dried produce price.