Agricultural products such as coffee, tobacco, tea, fruit, cocoa beans, rice, nuts, and timber generally require drying through a consistent application of relatively low heat. Traditionally, crop drying has been accomplished by burning wood and fossil fuels in ovens or open air drying under screened sunlight. These methods, however, have their shortcomings. The former is expensive and damages the environment and the latter is susceptible to the variety and unpredictability of the weather. Solar crop drying is a happy medium between these two methods and it dries crops with more efficiency, uniformity, and less expense. A solar crop drying system does not solely depend on solar energy to function; it combines fuel burning with the energy of the sun, thus reducing fossil fuel consumption. In this paper, the status of solar drying technologies in developing countries is presented. The various designs of solar dryers, its types and performance analysis are reviewed. Special attention is given to the solar drying technologies that facilitate drying of crops in off-sunshine hours. The solar dryers specifically designed or tested using specific crops like the vegetable dryer, fruit dryer, grain dryer, grape dryer, and so on are also reviewed with details about the specifications and the results. In short, the state of art technologies and development of solar dryers are presented in this paper.
- Solar crop drying
- Solar dryers
- Solar drying technologies
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment