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Materials and Methods

This chapter deals with material and methodology adopted for design,
development and performance evaluation of hybrid dryer based on solar and electrical
energy. The dryer was fabricated at workshop and tested at Department of Renewable
Energy Engineering, College of Technology and Engineering, Udaipur. The study area
falls between 2742 N latitude, 7533 E longitude and at an altitude of 582.5 m
above mean sea level.
3.1 Design of Hybrid Dryer

Figure 3.1: Layout of hybrid dryer


3.2 Features of Hybrid Dryer

Some important features are:

An evacuated tube collector (ETC) is used for water heating.

Hot water is stored in storage tank from which air is heated through heat
exchanger unit.

Heated air is then supplied to drying chamber through pipes.

There is no provision for entrance of ambient air directly during day time.

A valve is provided to cut the supply when ambient air temperature is slightly
more than the temperature of air coming from heat exchanger.

The temperature at inlet of drying chamber is adjustable so that it can be

maintained at required amount of temperature.

At the bottom of drying chamber electric heater is provided to heat the

incoming air as per the required amount of temperature.

If temperature of incoming hot air is 50C and the required temperature is

70C, then it will add up and drying chamber will get 70C temperature, so
that constant drying can take place.

Blower is provided to flow the air into the chamber.

Above the electric heater, three trays are placed. Approx. 20 kg. of onion is
used for drying in the dryer.

The exit air from the drying chamber will not go into the atmosphere. It is
passed through the bed of silica gel for dehumidification, so that moisture will
be absorbed.

Then the air is recirculated into the drying chamber so that the energy input is


3.3 Fabrication and Dimensional Features of Hybrid Dryer

Plate 3.1 Drying chamber view

Plate 3.2 Heat exchanger cum storage tank view


Table 3.1 Dimensions of hybrid dryer




Drying chamber
Insulation 0.04 m thick











Heat exchanger cum storage tank





Copper coil


0.019 diameter


Temperature controller unit










Stand for heat exchanger unit




3.4 Main Components of Developed System

1. Solar collector ( ETC)
2. Heat exchanger cum storage tank
3. Blower
4. Electric heater
5. Drying chamber
6. Dehumidifier
7. Automatic temperature controller
3.4.1 Description Solar collector (ETC):
Evacuated tube collector is an equipment to the heat water by using solar
energy. In this type collector through natural process solar energy is absorbed by the
black coating on the outside of the inner tube & the same is transferred to the water
inside the tube. Water on the upper side of the vaccum tube becomes hot & lighter in
weight, so it starts rising up into the tank as per the thermosyphon principle. At the
same time, heavier cold water from the tank comes downward from lower side of the
tube. This cycle repeats till all the water is heated so long as solar radiation is


available. Hot water is collected into the tank and through a pipe is fed to the heat
exchanger cum storage tank. Again cold water is return back into the collector.

Plate 3.3 Evacuated tube collector Heat exchanger cum storage tank
A storage tank is made up of GI sheet having insulation 4 cm thick thermocol
insulation. A copper tube is inserted into the tank in which hot air is circulated. Inlet
of copper tube is connected with a pipe which is connected to a blower and outlet is
connected to the drying chamber which provides hot air. A gate is provided to open
the tank. In this tank hot water is collected through ETC. Due to density difference
cold water is set at bottom and outlet is provided at bottom which is connected
through ETC and thus water is circulated. Due to hot water coil placed in the tank gets
heated and inside the coil heated air circulated. This hot air is passed into the drying
chamber. At the top, sensor is placed to measure the temperature of hot water.


Plate 3.4 Heat exchanger cum storage tank Electric heater
A fin type electric heater of 1 KW capacity is placed at the bottom of the
drying chamber which is used when required amount of temperature is not achieved
from solar energy then alternate source of electrical energy is provided. A temperature
controller is provided with the heater as when the temperature of heater rises above a
set limit then it automatically cut off the supply of heat, so that constant temperature
can be maintained into the drying chamber.

Plate 3.5 Electric heater Blower
A blower of is placed before the heat exchanger unit. Drying chamber outlet is
connected with exhaust air pipe which is connected through blower to the heat
exchanger unit. The mass flow rate may be adjusted in the blower.

Plate 3.6 Blower Drying chamber
Drying chamber is the main component of the system. It is made up of GI
sheet. In this chamber trays are provided on which product, which is to be dried is
placed. Temperature controller is provided to adjust the heat input. Temperature
sensor is provided above the each tray to measure the temperature of each tray.

Plate 3.7 Drying chamber

27 Automatic temperature controller and display unit

This unit consists of temperature controller and temperature display unit. It
shows the temperature of hot water stored in tank and temperature of hot air coming
through heat exchanger.

Plate 3.8 Automatic temperature controller and display unit Energy meter
It shows the total electrical energy consumed by the system in kWh from the
electric heater, blower and the temperature controller.

Plate 3.9 Energy Meter



Plate 3.10 Hybrid dryer


Table 3.2 Design considerations of hybrid dryer





Capacity (kg)

20 kg fresh onion flakes

Initial moisture content(mi)

87 % (w.b.)

Final moisture content (mf)

7 % (w.b.)

Loading rate (LR)

5 kg / m2

Solar insolation (It)

540 W/m2 hr (May month )

Ambient temperature (Ta)

30 C

Drying temperature (Td)

60 C

Ambient relative humidity (RH)

50 %

Drying time (td)


3.5 Design Procedure

3.5.1 Design of drying chamber
The following design parameters were considered for the design of hybrid
drying system for drying of fresh onion.
1. Mass of water to be removed during drying, Mw (kg)

mi m f
100 m f

mi = Initial moisture content, (% w.b.)
m f = Final moisture content, (% w.b.)
W = Weight of product, (kg)
2. Total energy required, Q (kJ)

Qreq 1.1 (W C p (Td Ta ) ( M w )

W = Weight of product, kg
Cp = Specific heat of water, kJ /kg C
Td = Drying temperature, C
Ta = Ambient temperature, C

Mw = Mass of water to be removed during drying, kg

= Latent heat of vaporization, kJ/kg
3. Mass of air required for drying, Ma (kg/h)

(H e H d ) t

Mw = Mass of water to be removed, kg
Hd = Humidity ratio of drying air, kg of water per kg of dry air
He = Humidity ratio of exist air, kg of water per kg of dry air
t = Drying time, h
4. Volumetric air flow rate, Va (m3/h)
V a M a Vh

Ma= Mass flow rate of drying air, kg/hr.
Vh = Humid Volume (m3/kg) taken from psychometric chart, m3/kg
5. Volume of product to be dried, V (m3)

W= weight of product to be dried, kg

= bulk density of product, kg/m3

6. Dimensions of drying chamber and tray
Drying area AD =


AD = Drying area
Tdl = thickness of drying layer, m


7. No. of trays, (no.)

8. Exhaust fan power, Fp (W)

P ( a e ) g H

Fp= Exhaust fan power (W)
Va = Volumetric air flow rate (m3/h)
P = Pressure difference between inlet and exist of dryer, (Pa)
a and e= Density of air at inlet and exit of dryer, (kg/ m3)
g = Acceleration due to gravity, (m/s2)
b = Efficiency of blower (%)
H = Elevation difference between inlet and exit of dryer, (m)
9. Thickness of insulation of dryer cabinet
The amount of heat loss by the dryer surfaces was reduced by providing an
appropriate insulation of high density thermocol. The thickness of insulation was
found out by heat balance as follow
The surface thermal resistance, R DS


Thermal resistance of insulation, Rin

t insulation
( C m2W-1)
k insulation

t insulation Rinsulation k insulation

tinsulation = Thickness of insulation, m
kinsulation = Thermal conductivity of insulating material, W/ m C
The heat flow from dryer surface and the ambient can be expressed as
Heat flow, Watts =

(Td Ta)
(Ts Ta)

(Rin RDS)

Where, Td = Drying temperature, C


Ta = Ambient air temperature, C

RDS = Thermal resistance of dryer surface, C m2 W-1
Ts = Temperature of drying chamber after insulation, C
Thickness of insulation of dryer surface can be expressed as
3.5.2 Design of heat exchanger
1. Heat content of hot water, (kJ)



Where, Q = Total energy required for drying of onion, kJ


= Thermal efficiency of heat exchanger, %

2. Log mean temperature difference (LMTD) of heat exchanger


(Thi Tco ) (Tho Tci )

(T Tco )
ln hi

(Tho Tci )

Where, Thi = Temperature of hot water at heat exchanger inlet, C

Tho = Temperature of hot water at heat exchanger outlet, C
Tci = Temperature of air inlet, C
Tco = Temperature of air out, C
But this value only valid for counter flow heat exchanger whereas in this case it was
proposed to use cross flow heat exchanger. The LMTD for cross flow heat exchanger
was calculated as
LMTDcross = F LMTDcounter
F = correction factor for cross flow heat exchanger which is computed by the chart of
correction factor for one fluid mixed and other fluid unmixed condition.
Effectiveness (P) of heat exchanger was as calculated as

(Tco Tci )
(Thi Tci )

And capacity ratio was calculated as

(Thi Tho )
(Tco Tci )

3. Heat transfer area required

The aluminum fins are used for heat transfer and heat transfer area of heat
exchanger was calculated as
Q = U A LMTDcross
Q = Heat transfer per hour, kJ/h.
U = Overall heat transfer coefficient of aluminum, kJ/m2 C
4. Water flow rate required
The water flow rate required for providing sufficient heat across heat
exchanger was computed as
Q m c p (Thi Tho )

m = Mass of water to be flow through heat exchanger, kg

C = Specific heat of hot water, kJ/ kg C


T = Temperature of hot water at inlet of heat exchanger, C


T = Temperature of hot water at outlet of heat exchanger, C

3.5.3 Raw material
In the present study onions which were available in market was used in this
The onions were stored in a gunny bag and were aerated from time to time.
A) Sample preparation
For each batch of 20 kg fresh onion flakes approx. were used. The onion bulbs
were peeled and washed under tap water before each experiment, to remove dirt, dust

and surface adherings. The onions bulbs were sliced with slicer and then crushed with
hand to make flakes.


B) Moisture content
The initial moisture content of raw onion flakes were determined by oven
drying method.

An amount equal to 100 g fresh onion slices were placed in

thoroughly washed, dried and pre-weighed moisture boxes. The initial weight of each
sample was recorded. The moisture boxes were put in the oven having temperature of
pre-set at 105 C. Samples were dried for 24 hours. The samples were then taken out
of oven and cooled in the desiccator and weighed using an electronic balance having
capacity 600 g and least count of 0.001 g. Initial and bone dried weights were used to
calculate the initial moisture content. The moisture content 87 per cent is taken for
3.6 Performance Evaluation of Solar Collector
The performance of solar collector was evaluated in terms of collector
efficiency. The hourly collector efficiency was calculated by following formula for
each day. Then, the collector efficiency during without exhaust air recirculation tests
and with exhaust air recirculation tests was averaged separately and plotted with
respect to time.

mat C a (Tco Ta )
I 0.86 A


= Hourly collector efficiency, %

mat = mass flow rate, kg/h

Ca = Specific heat of air, kcal / kg C
Tco = Collector outlet temperature, C
Ta = Ambient temperature, C
It = Solar radiation, kW/m2/day
Ac = Area of collector, m2


3.7 Performance Evaluation of Drying Unit

The performance of drying unit was evaluated in terms of moisture content
variation, drying rate, drying efficiency, heat utilization factor etc. For this purpose,
the hourly reductions in weight of representative sample were recorded. As, it was not
possible to take weight of whole sample; the 200 g sample was taken as representative
sample and the performance was calculated.
A) Moisture content
Moisture content of onion flakes during experiment at hourly time intervals
were determined by calculating mass of dry matter of flakes. Moisture contents (g
water/ g dry matter) at various times were calculated by the formula:

MC( d.b.)


W = Weight of the sample at time , g
DM = dry matter content of the sample, g
Wd % 100 - M i (w.b.)

Wd Initial mass of sample

Wd %

B) Drying rate
The moisture content data in each of experiments were analyzed to determine
the moisture lost by sample of onion flakes in a known time interval. The drying rate
was expressed as g water/g dry matter- h. The drying rate can be calculated as DR

Time int erval DM

WML = Initial weight of sample weight after time, g.
DM = Dry matter
C) Hourly drying efficiency
The drying efficiency was calculated by the following formula


I 0.86 A

mw = mass of water evaporated per hour, kg
= Latent heat of vaporization, kcal / kg
It = Solar insolation, kWh/m2/day
A = Total collector area, m2
D) Heat utilization factor
The performance evaluation of the recirculatory dryer was assessed using the
heat utilization factor (H.U.F) (Das et al., 2001). HUF is the ratio of heat utilized to
heat supplied. The data acquired from experiment was used for determining the heat
utilization factor (H.U.F.). It can be calculated by following formula


Tdi Tdo
Td i Ta

Tdi = Dryer inlet temperature, C
Tdo = Dryer outlet temperature, C
Ta = Ambient temperature, C
3.8 Overall Performance of Hybrid Dryer
The overall performance of the system was evaluated in terms of overall
thermal efficiency and daily drying efficiency.

Overall thermal efficiency

For without recirculation


ma t C a (Tdo Ta )
I 0.86 A

th= Thermal collector efficiency, %
mat = mass flow rate, Kg/h
Ca = Specific heat of air, kcal/kg C
Tdo = Dryer outlet temperature, C
Ta = Ambient temperature, C
It = Solar insolation, kWh/m2/day
A = Total area of collector, m2


For with recirculation


m a t C a (Tdo Tm )
I 0.86 A

th = Thermal collector efficiency, %
mat = mass flow rate, Kg/hr
Ca = Specific heat of air, kcal/kg C
Tdo = Dryer outlet temperature, C
Tm = Mean temperature at collector inlet after mixing recirculated air
with ambient air, C
It = Solar insolation, kWh/m2/day
A = Total area of collector, m2
B) Exhaust air recirculation ratio
The exhaust air recirculation ratio can be determined by the following

Vi Vr

Vr = volume of air recirculated, m3
Vi = volume of air feed, m3
C) Daily drying efficiency
t 7


mev (t )
t 1

t 7

A 0.86 I (t )


t 1

mev (t)

= Total mass of water evaporated per day, kg

= Latent heat of vaporization, kcal / kg

It = Solar insolation, kWh/m2/day
A = Total collector area, m2
D) Dehydration ratio and dry matter recovery

Dry matter recovery is represented in percent. It may define as the ratio of

final weight of dried onion flakes to the initial weight of fresh onion flakes and can be
calculated as follows.
weight of dried sample

Dry matter recovery (%) = weight of fresh sample 100

3.9 Instruments Used
Instruments required for evaluating performance of hybrid dryer are as follows
1. Moisture analyser
2. Temperature data logger
3. Digital solarimeter
4. Digital hygrometer
5. Solar data logger
6. Digital anemometer
7. Colorimeter
8. Electronic weighing balance
9. Infra red thermometer
3.9.1 Digital solarimeter
The digital solarimeter manufactured by M/s. Surya Solar Systems,
Ahmedabad was used to measure the solar insolation falling on horizontal surface.
The instrument was operated on 9 V DC battery and gives reading in W/m2.
3.9.2 Digital anemometer
The digital anemometer manufactured by M/s. Lutron Instruments, Taiwn was
used to measure the air velocity. The instrument can measure air velocity from 0.1 to
40 m/s.
3.9.3 Digital thermometer
The digital thermometer manufactured by M/s. Mextech Instruments was used
to measure the temperature at various points in dryer. The range of instrument was
from -50 to + 300 0C.


3.9.4 Digital hygrometer

The digital hygrometer manufactured by M/s. Mextech Instruments was used
to measure the relative humidity of air.
3.9.5 Electronic weighing balance
Weight measurement was done by using electronic balance (Make- Adair Dutt
and Co. Pvt. Ltd.) the capacity of balance was 600 g.
3.9.6 Moisture analyzer
Moisture analyzer was used to detect or measure the moisture content of the
product. The main feature of this machine is that it consumes lesser time compared to
oven dry method.
3.10 Techno Economics of Hybrid Dryer
Different economic indicators were used for economic analysis of solar drying
system under this study. The following parameters were considered to carry out cost
economics of drying system.
1. The life of hybrid dryer is assumed as 10 years (n).
2. The discount rate is assumed to be 8 %, (i)
3. The Annual repair and maintenance cost is 3 % of cost.
4. The cost of fresh onion is Rs. 6 / kg during season.
5. The cost of dried onion flakes is Rs. 250 / kg.
6. One labour is required per day and labour charge is Rs. 100 per day.
7. The dryer can be operated 300 days in a year.
8. The cost of system is Rs.1, 00,000.
9. The total material cost for drying of onion flakes is Rs.77, 850 per year. It
includes the cost from purchase of raw material to the packaging of dried
onion flakes.
3.10.1 Net present worth
The net preset worth can be computed by subtracting the total discounted
present worth of the cost stream from that of the benefit stream.


t =1

Bt - Ct
(1 + i ) t


Where, Ct = Cost in each year

Bt = Benefit in each year
t = 1, 2, 3................n
i = Discount rate (%)
3.10.2 Benefit cost ratio
This is the ratio obtained when the present worth of the benefit stream is
divided by the present worth of the cost stream. The mathematical benefit-cost ratio
can be expressed as:

Where, Ct = Cost in each year

Bt = Benefit in each year
t = 1, 2, 3................n
i = Discount rate, %
3.10.3 Payback period
The pay back period is the length of time from the beginning of the project
until the net value of the incremental production stream reaches the total amount of
the capital investment. It shows the length of time between cumulative net cash
outflow recovered in the form of yearly net cash inflow.
3.10.4. Internal rate of return (IRR)
Another way of using the internal cash flow for measuring the worth of a
project is to find the discount rate that makes the net present worth to the incremental
cash flow equal to zero. This discount rate is called the internal rate of return.


t =1

Bt - Ct
(1 + i ) t

Where, Ct = Cost in each year

Bt = Benefit in each year
t = 1, 2, 3................n
i = Discount rate, (%)

Plate 3.11 : Instruments used

Moisture Analyser

Hot Wire Anemometer

Digital Moisture Meter

Digital Solarimeter


Digital Temperature controller

Temperature monitor