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2 Zero Energy Cool Chamber

2 Zero Energy Cool Chamber

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Published by Sunil Pareek

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Published by: Sunil Pareek on Nov 28, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Exercise 3

Objective: Construction of zero energy cool chamber for fruits and vegetables storage In a tropical country like India, a tremendous amount of quality deterioration of horticultural produce takes place immediately after harvest due to lack of on-farm storage facilities. Refrigerated cool storage is considered to be the best method of storing fruits and vegetables. However, this method is not only highly energy intensive but also involves huge capital investment. The present trend world over is to develop a simple low cost cooling system for storage of fruits and vegetables. In order to overcome the problem of on farm storage, low cost environment friendly Pusa Zero Energy Cool Chambers have been developed. The greatest importance of this low cost cooling technology lies in the fact that it does not require any electricity or power to operate and all the materials required to make the cool chamber are available locally, easily and cheaply. Even an unskilled person can install it at any site, as it does not require any specialized skill. Most of the raw material used in cool chamber is also reusable. The cool chamber can reduce the temperature by 10-18°C of ambient temperature and maintain high relative humidity of above 90% .throughout the year that can increase the shelf life and retain the quality of fresh horticultural produce. Principle Based on the principles of direct evaporative cooling, the Pusa Zero Energy Cool Chamber works. Considerable cooling effect can be obtained by evaporation of water and faster the evaporation, greater is the cooling. Evaporative cooling occurs when air that is not already saturated with water vapour is blown across any wet surface. Theoretically the lowest temperature that can be reached by the evaporation of water is the wet bulb temperature. The materials primarily used in constructing these chambers i.e. bricks and sand fortunately both has great capacity to absorb and/or retain water which evaporates slowly and steadily depending on the atmospheric temperature and humidity resulting in cooling. Requirements • • Construction materials: bricks, sand, bamboo etc. Top cover: khas khas fixed in a bamboo-frame

• • • •

Watering of the chambers: watering can or bucket and mug, water tank, drip system etc. Plastic crates for storage and plastic sheet for cover. Temperature and relative humidity: Maximum minimum and wet and dry bulb thermometer or digital thermo-hygrometer with extension cord. Hand sprayer (small) for spraying of insecticides/fungicides.

Procedure For construction of Pusa Zero Energy Cool Chamber select upland having a nearby source of water supply. • • • • • • • Make floor of the chamber with the help of bricks size 165 cm x 115 cm. Erect the double bricks wall on the above floor to a height of 67.5 cm leaving a cavity of 7.5 cm. Drench the chamber with water and soak the fine riverbed sand with water. Fill the cavity between the double brick wall with this wet sand. Make a frame of top cover with bamboo (165 cm x 115 cm) frame and 'sirki' straw or dry grass.. Make a thatch/tin/asbestos shed over the chamber in order to protect it from direct sun or rain or snow. After construction following operation instructions are to be followed. Keep the sand, bricks and top cover of the chamber wet with water. In order to achieve desired temperature and relative humidity, water twice daily (morning and evening). Alternatively, fix a drip system for watering with plastic pipes and micro tubes connected to an overhead water source. • • Store the fruits and vegetables in this chamber by keeping in perforated plastic crates. Cover these crates with a thin polyethylene sheet. The cool chamber. should be reinstalled once in 3 years with new bricks utilizing the old bricks for other purposes. Observations Once the Pusa Zero Energy Cool Chamber is constructed, regular observations to be taken regarding the performance of cool chamber in terms of temperature and relative humidity as well as the shelf life increase of fruits and vegetables.

Temperature and Relative Humidity can be recorded with the help of Maximum Minimum Thermometer and Dry and Wet bulb Thermometer, otherwise it can be done with the help of digital thermo-hygrometer for display of temperature and relative humidity. The shelf life increase of fruits and vegetables is recorded regularly be taking the weight, incidence of spoilage/diseases and assessing the quality (sensory evaluation). Calculations Weight loss (%) = Initial weight – weight at the end of storage x 100 Initial weight Spoilage (%) = Weight of spoilt material x 100 Initial weight Sensory evaluation = Experienced assessors randomly selected should evaluate overall acceptability, colour, texture and flavor/odour. Attributers are to score on five point hedonic scale of excellent, 1; good 2; fair 3; poor, 4; and very poor, 5. Results Weight loss expressed as per cent (w/w). Spoilage expressed as per cent (w/w). Freshness expressed as visual observations. Sensory evaluation expressed as overall score. PRECAUTIONS • • • The site should be selected where breezes blow and should be build in an elevated place to avoid water logging. Only clean, unbroken bricks with good porosity must be used sand should be clean and free from organic matters, clay etc. The bricks and sand should be kept saturated with water. The chamber should not be exposed to sun, rain or snow.

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Only plastic crates should be used for storage and avoid bamboo baskets, wooden/fibre board boxes, gunny bags etc. Efforts should be made to prevent water drops coming in contact with stored material. The chamber should be kept clean and disinfect the chamber periodically with permitted insecticide/fungicide/chemical, to protect from fungus, insect/pests, reptiles, etc.

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