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Journal of Energy
Volume 2013, Article ID 479894, 8 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2013/479894
Research Article

Analysis and Testing of a Natural Convection Solar Dryer for the Tropics

The Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Lagos, Akoka, Yaba, Lagos 101017, Nigeria

Received 12 December 2012; Revised 20 February 2013; Accepted 20 February 2013

Academic Editor: Mattheos Santamouris

Copyright © 2013 A. O. Adelaja and B. I. Babatope. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Solar dryers are imperative for the tropical and sub-Saharan African countries, which are faced with the duo challenges of inadequate electrical energy supply, which has severely limited the application of conventional refrigeration as a means of preservation of agricultural produce, and the need to make produce competitive in the international market. In this study, a cost-effective natural convection solar dryer was developed; the thermal and drying analyses were done and tested to obtain some performance evaluation parameters for the system in order to examine its efficiency and effectiveness by drying some plantain fillets. The collector and system efficiencies are found to be 46.4% and 78.73%, respectively, while a percentage moisture removal of 77.5% was achieved at the 20th hour in order to give final moisture contents of 15.75% in the product, which still maintained its integrity. With a cost of about $195.00, it has been affordable for the small- and medium-scale enterprises as well as for private use in domestic applications.