Development of a parabolic solar dryer for efficient solar energy use in the rural areas in Ghana

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The use of the solar resource for food drying has always been a food preservation technique which is widely practised in this part of the world but unfortunately some of the methods practised in the rural areas, have been wrought with many disadvantages one of which is the poor quality of food derived. There have been much research into developing more enhanced and more efficient means of drying but unfortunately much still remains to be done in this area. The thesis looked at bringing out a new design of the parabolic solar dryer, which combined the concept of the parabolic concentrator and the flat plat collector system with the aim of increasing the overall drying efficiency of the dryer. The dryer was designed primarily as a mixed mode passive dryer. A prototype was built and tested, with the test spanning a period of three days. A control test using the open sun drying method was conducted at the same time and under the same weather conditions as the prototype dryer. The test crop used was Okra with recorded initial moisture content on wet basis (w.b.) of 90.7%. The overall performance of the dryer after the assessment of the drying data was not satisfactory with the open sun drying method recording final moisture content about 9.7% w.b. lower than that of the solar dryer. The estimated average drying efficiency for one of the typical testing days was about 8.1%.
A thesis submitted to the Department of Mechanical Engineering, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in partial fulfilment of the requirement for the degree of Master of Science in Renewable Energy Technologies, 2014