Food losses cause a waste of precious resources, including land, water, energy, agricultural inputs, and human labor, used in the production of the lost food. Food loss is caused by a lack of low-cost, effective drying technology to dry food. Currently, over 95 percent of smallholder farmers use open-air drying to dry their crops. While dryers exist, there remains a void for products that are designed to target smallholder farmers. To address this critical need, researchers at Purdue University have developed a collapsible, solar-powered dryer for purposes of drying products from grains to fruits and vegetables and even meat. The unit is 100 percent powered by solar energy, generating and circulating hot air passively and actively by convection and radiation modes of heat transfers. This technology captures heat from the cooking stove for use in an adjacent crop drying chamber attached to the stove. This enables the double use of each unit of energy for both cooking and drying, providing better fuel efficiency. The dryer is portable and can be assembled and repaired with a single-sized wrench, while exceeding industry air emissions standards for biomass fire stoves and furnaces.
Purdue Research Foundation