Traditional sun drying of crops is the prevalent method for food preservation in Africa due to very good solar irradiation throughout the year. However, this method of drying which involves spreading the crops/fruits in thin layers on mats, trays or paved grounds and exposing them to the sun and wind has exposed the foods to contamination by dust, insects, micro-organisms and enzymatic reactions.This method is labour and time intensive as crops/fruits have to be covered at night, during bad weather and from attack from domestic animals and birds. There is also non uniform drying more especially in humid tropical regions where some crops/fruits have to be dried during rainy seasons.20160803_115413

 CREEC technician working on the solar dryer

The Centre for Research in Energy and Energy Conservation (CREEC) is committed to creating solutions using locally available materials to help farmers and other stake holders to reduce wastage of produce due to rotting of products during periods of peak harvesting and adding value to crops/fruits. In implementing the solar dryer technology, a movable and stationary tunnel dryer are the first designs to be tested for efficiency as we prepare to explore others such as the active solar dryer and solar hood dryer with chimneys which we have already designed.

This technology will basically be used for drying fruits and crops nevertheless where applicable briquettes and pellet producers will be targeted. Other benefits that will be added to this technology includes phone charging for workers and lighting for security purpose.

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