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Research Papers

J. Sol. Energy Eng. 2018;140(5):051001-051001-10. doi:10.1115/1.4039891.

A greenhouse dryer under forced convection mode is designed and fabricated with the integration of solar collector and variable speed exhaust fan. The developed system is used for bitter gourd flakes drying under three different air mass flow rates (0.0275, 0.0551, and 0826 kg/s). Moisture content of bitter gourd flakes was decreased effectively from 96.8% to 12.2% in 17 h with optimum air mass flow rate 0.0551 kg/s, whereas open sun drying has taken 26 h to reach 20.7% moisture content. The average greenhouse dryer efficiency was found to be 19.7% at 0.0551 kg/s air mass flow rate. Shrinkage (in terms of percentage) of dried bitter gourd flakes was found to be higher as 74% at 0.0275 kg/s air mass flow rate because of higher greenhouse room air temperature. Hardness of dried bitter gourd flakes was found to be highest as 365 g at 0.0275 kg/s air mass flow rate due to less air exchange rate and high inside room temperature. On the basis of statistical analysis, Prakash and Kumar model and Logarithmic model were selected as best drying models for greenhouse and open sun drying, respectively. The dehydration of higher moisture content crops inside developed greenhouse dryer was found to be more consistent. The designed greenhouse system is recommended for small farmers.

Commentary by Dr. Valentin Fuster

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