Solar dryer

  • Objective

    Traditional methods of food drying is to place the foodstuffs in the sun in the open air. This method, called sun drying, is effective for small amounts of food. The area needed for sun drying expands with food quantity and since the food is placed in the open air, it is easily contaminated. Therefore, one major reason why sun drying is not easily performed with larger quantities of food is that the monitoring and overview becomes increasingly more difficult with increasing food quantities.

  • Knowledge partner
    Knowledge partner
    Country of registration
    United Kingdom
    Relation to CTCN
    Network Member
    Knowledge Partner
    Sector(s) of expertise
    Early warning and Environmental assessment
    Renewable energy
    Energy efficiency

    Practical Action Consulting (PAC) is the consulting arm of Practical Action, an international non-governmental organisation that uses technology to challenge poverty in developing countries.

  • Publication date

    Description of the project: India produces large quantities of fruits and vegetables, but more than 50% of this is wasted. The project aims to: 1) demonstrate the commercial viability of solar drying of fruits, vegetables and condiments, and convert them into profitable products on a micro enterprise scale; 2) equip rural poor women with solar dryers and train them on proper use. Sthree Sakthi Mahila Samajam installed solar powered air dryers in 2017 under the Socio-Economic Program of AIWC.

  • Type of National plan

    Kenya lies along the equator and receives enough sunshine during the year. There is potential for applying solar dryers to dry cereals such as maize, wheat and rice after harvesting. These cereals are widely grown in the country both by small households and in large farms.

    Status of technology in country

    In Kenya, GIZ has played a key role in introducing the technology. Most of the work was with simple direct, lowest cost type solar dryers. Such "simple" designs use frames made of wood, inside which screen trays are laid. A UV resistant plastic film is used as a cover.

  • Objective

    This solar dryer design is based on the design of a green -house and was designed by QSM and Associates. The main difference is that the dryer is fitted with fine wire mesh on both the windward and the leeward sides at the bottom for air inlet and an opening at the top to provide for exhaustion of the vapors coming from the produce. Inside the dyer are racks fitted with fine mesh wire of food grade material to hold the produce and the floor is plastered. The standard design is seven by fifteen meters and can hold a ton of fresh produce.

  • Objective

    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.