Mexican students create eco-friendly food dryer

A group of UVM investigators developed a highly efficient solar-powered food drier

Mexican students create eco-friendly food dryer
In a statement, the UVM reported that the universities developed these solar dehydrators while working on tower-type natural circulation systems - Photo: File photo/EL UNIVERSAL
English 09/11/2018 14:34 Notimex Mexico City Actualizada 14:38
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A group of investigators from the Universidad del Valle de Mexico (UVM) developed a food dryer that uses both solar and photovoltaic energy.

Academics Nein Farrera, Joel Moreira Acosta, Aldo Aguilar Castillejos, and Osbaldo Garcia Ramos participated in the project, with the support of students from the Center for Research, Innovation, and Technological Development (CIIDETEC) of the same university, as well as the University of Sciences and Arts of Chiapas (UNICACH).

In a statement, the UVM reported that the universities developed these solar dehydrators while working on tower-type natural circulation systems.

The new technology features a photovoltaic system that generates electricity and heat through two electrical resistances placed within the drying chamber.

"The great advantage of these resistances is that they can be used to raise the temperature, depending on the product to be dried," said Nein Ferrera.

The solar-thermal photovoltaic dryer introduces a vacuum tubes system that allows to raise the air temperature directly with solar radiation, while the hot air is driven by means of a fan to the same drying chamber; the system has allowed the invention to raise the temperature to more than 100 degrees centigrade.

The structure is made of steel and aluminum, with an insulating material of very low thermal conductivity, which makes it very useful and efficient.

"The dryer has been tested with products such as mango, lemon, cheese, peanut, and coffee, showing positive results. On average, the drying is done in a third of the time it takes for traditional drying yards to work," it said.

This technology from the UVM, Campus Tuxtla, gained the attention of several institutions such as the Mexican Institute of Industrial Property, which is currently in the process of patenting the solar-photovoltaic dryer created by Mexicans.

The researcher said that some time ago, producers of jalapeño pepper from the area of Palenque, Chiapas, established a fixed monthly cost of 100 thousand pesos for gas used to power dryers. With our new technology, he said, they could buy two of these devices per month, generating considerable money savings.

He argued that the quality of the drying is very important. In yard drying, the product usually becomes contaminated and gets wet when it rains, causing losses of up to 40 percent in profits; "This is the case of coffee. As it decreases in humidity, its price drops exponentially".


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