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Solar Assisted Heat Pump Dryer

for High Value Crops

Francisco D. Cuaresma
Central Luzon State University


The need to develop an efficient crop dryer in the

Philippines is necessary to save on fossil fuel use
and bring down the release of CO2 in the
environment. Studies on heat pumps in other
countries present encouraging results to dry crops at
lower temperatures. With the use of solar energy to
aid the heat pump would bring lesser cost and
improved quality of dried agricultural products.

Heat Pump

Heat Pump Dryer Principle

Drying systems incorporating a dehumidification cycle, called
Heat Pump Dryer (HPD), have been developed that not only
accelerate the drying process and preserve the quality of the
product by drying at low temperature but also conserve
energy of the drying processes. The heat pump recovers the
sensible and latent heats by condensing moisture from the
drying air. Consequently, partial vapour pressure in the
drying air decreases, thereby increasing the driving potential
of evaporated moisture. The recovered heat is recycled back
to the dryer by heating the drying air.
Some recent developments in drying technologies appropriate for postharvest processing
Arun S. Mujumdar
Heat pump-assisted drying

A performance study of a heat pump dryer

system is required to fully understand its
operating characteristics based on different
materials to be dried. The study reported on
drying of special crops like ginseng that
needed lower temperatures.

Heat Pump Drying Technology - Introduction Accessed on

Low temperature drying of food materials using energy-efficient ...
%20Drying%20of%20food... Accessed on 02/26/2009

A system developed in Brisbane, Australia,

reduces energy costs through a hybrid food
drying system.
A conventional heat pump has been combined
with a fluidised bed unit to improve efficiency
by up to 80%.
/ Accessed on 02/26/2009
Crop drying (food preserving) apparatus

For drying of crops and preserving of foods or other

perishables or such a heat pump is used.
The overall effect is to reduce our use of foreign
energy supplies, to reduce our balance of payments
due to foreign countries, to reduce our indebtedness
to the oil Shieks of foreign lands, and to save money
and energy for our own food producers who supply
us with food, feeds and perishables. That, in turn,
means lower costs for the peoples for their food and
living expenses.
Titre du document / Document title
Accessed on 02/26/2009
Experimental results of a solar assisted heat pump rice drying system

Experimental results have been obtained on the

efficiency and drying quality of a solar assisted heat
pump drying prototype system.
The system has been operated as a solar and heat
pump system and drying curves for the different
options have been obtained. The advantage of the
low temperature and better control in the drier shows
that the heat pump assisted solar drying system is an
excellent alternative to traditional drying systems.

Some recent developments in drying technologies

appropriate for postharvest processing
Arun S. Mujumdar

According to Mujumdar the following are some of

the advantages of the heat pump dryer:
high energy efficiency; higher drying rates at lower
better quality products especially for heat-sensitive
wide range of operating conditions.

Some recent developments in drying technologies

appropriate for postharvest processing
Arun S. Mujumdar

But there are disadvantages of the heat pump dryer system:

higher initial capital cost and maintenance cost due

needed to maintain compressor,
refrigerant filters and charging of refrigerant
leakage of refrigerant, causing higher maintenance costs
more complex operation relative to simple convection
additional floor space requirements.

Drying of high value crops using a solar

dehumidifier dryer
Hardan (1987) developed and tested a solardehumidifier for drying onion. The dryer had
a varied drying temperature of 37-55 oC. Some
improvements were done by Fermin (1988)
and was tested by Cuaresma (1989) using
onion, tomato and banana. Its output products
were better compared to the products from an
electric cabinet dryer.

Solar dehumidifier dryer or solar-assisted heat

pump problems encountered:

Uncontrolled temperature inside the drying

Condenser heat was not maximized
Not cost effective

The study aims to:
develop a prototype solar-assisted heat pump dryer
test the system by drying high value crops with
similar characteristics;
develop a computer model using the fundamentals of
thermodynamics for a heat pump dryer system; and
validate this model based on experimental results.


Exhaustive literature search for existing solarassisted heat pump dryers for agricultural products.
Chose an appropriate model and list design
considerations prior to the design. Construct the
system and conduct preliminary testing.
List crops with similar characteristics (based on
literature) and conduct pre-drying trials to obtain
drying patterns. Implement the design of
experiments to obtain the data desired. Load the
dryer at design capacity.


Based on thermodynamics and solar heat

pump equations, develop the model and
perform curve fitting using available
computer software.
Compute and analyze the experimental data
and validate this model by comparing it with
the experimental results.


BestR.; CruzJ. M. ; GutierrezJ. ; SotoW. ;

Experimental results of a solar assisted heat pump
rice drying system.
=afficheN&cpsidt =3133290 Accessed on 02/26/2009
Cuaresma, F.D. 1989. The Economics of Drying
High-Moisture and High Priced Crops Using a Solardehumifier Dryer. Masters Thesis. CLSU.
Hardan, S. and Fermin,R. 1988. Design
Construction and Performance Test of a Prototype
Solar-dehumidifier Dryer. Masters Thesis.CLSU


Mujumdar, Arun S. Some recent developments in

drying technologies appropriate for postharvest
processing. http://
/storage/ f851121024119736.pdf Accessed on 02/26/2009
Heat Pump Drying Technology - Introduction.
http ://
Low temperature drying of food materials using
energy efficient
/docs/Energy_Portal_Doc/.. ./Low%20Temperature
%20Drying%20of%20food... Accessed on 02/26/2009

Crop drying (food preserving) apparatus
Accessed on 02/26/2009