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Chapter 2

Review of Literature
Many scientists have worked on various aspects of solar drying technology
throughout the world. This chapter deals with the review of literature used for the
present study and the supporting references for methods used in research. This chapter
has been classified into three sections.
1. Solar drying technology
2. Onion drying
3. Techno economic evaluation
2.1 Solar Drying Technology
This section of reviews is subdivided into following heads:
1. Natural convection drying
2. Forced convection drying
3. Hybrid drying
4. Solar air collector with heat exchanger
5. Drying with and without recirculation of exhaust air
6. Desicant drying

Natural convection drying

Forson et al. (2007) designed a mixed-mode natural convection solar crop

dryer (MNCSCD) and used for drying cassava and other crops in an enclosed
structure. A prototype of the dryer was constructed to specification and used in
experimental drying tests. A batch of cassava 160 kg by mass, having an initial
moisture content of 67% was loaded in the dryer to reduce its moisture content to
17% wet basis. A drying time of 3036 h was assumed with an expected average solar
irradiance of 400 W/m2 and ambient conditions of 25 C and 77.8% relative humidity.
A minimum of 42.4 m2 of solar collection area was required for an expected drying
efficiency of 12.5%. Under average ambient conditions of 28.2 C and 72.1% relative
humidity with solar irradiance of 340.4 W/m2, a drying time of 35.5 h was realized.
The drying efficiency was evaluated as 12.3% when tested under full designed load
signifying that the design procedure proposed was sufficiently reliable.


Azad (2008) constructed solar drying system which consists of two parts viz.,
one solar collector having area of 1.2 m 2 and other solar drying cabinet where grapes
were dried in cabinet. The moisture content of grapes was reduced from 81.7% to
36.7% within 5 days of drying.
Panwar et al. (2012) studied the art of solar drying technologies for various
types of driers available to suit the needs of end users. A comprehensive review of the
various designs, construction and operational principles of the wide variety of
practically-realized designs of solar dryer were reported. Some very recent
developments in solar drying technology were highlighted.
2.1.2 Forced convection drying
Yaldiz et al. (2001) conducted experiments on thin layer convective solar
drying of Sultana grapes and examined the effect of drying air temperature and
velocity on a thin layer drying of Sultana grapes. They found that these parameters
were dominating the drying rate.
Lahsasni et al. (2004) carried out experiments on thin layer convective solar
drying of pear peel with an indirect convective dryer. They found that the prickly pear
peel was sufficiently dried in the range of 32 to 36 C of ambient air temperature, 50
to 60 C of drying air temperature, 23 to 34 percent of RH, 0.0277 to 0.0833 m 3/s of
drying air flow rate and 200 to 950 W/m2 of daily solar radiation. The main factor in
controlling the drying rate was found to be the drying air temperature.
Mohamed et al. (2005) conducted the experiments on convective solar drying
of citrus aurantium leaves in thin layer. An indirect forced convection solar dryer
consisting of a solar air collector, an auxiliary heater, a circulation fan and a drying
cabinet was used for the experiments.
Sarsavadia (2007) developed a solar-assisted forced convection dryer to study
the effect of airflow rate (2.43, 5.25, 8.09 kg/min), air temperature (55, 65, 75 C),
and fraction of air recycled (up to 90%) on the total energy requirement of drying of
onion slices. For drying of onion slices from initial moisture content of about 86%
(wet basis) to final moisture content of about 7% (wet basis), the energy required per
unit mass of water removed without using recirculation of air was found between
23.548 and 62.117 MJ/kg water. The savings in total energy due to fraction of air

recycled were determined at 65 and 75C air temperature for three different air flow
rates. The maximum saving in total energy up to 70.7% was achieved by recycling of
the exhaust air. The energy required per unit mass of water removed was found
between 12.040 and 38.777 MJ/kg water.
2.1.3 Hybrid drying
Amer (2010) designed and constructed a hybrid solar dryer using direct solar
energy and a heat exchanger. The drying chamber was located directly under the solar
collector. The dryer was operated during normal sunny days as a solar dryer and
during cloudy day as a hybrid solar dryer. Drying was also used at night with stored
heat energy in water which was collected during the time of sun-shine and with
electric heaters located at water tank. The efficiency of the solar dryer was raised by
recycling about 65% of the drying air in the solar dryer and exhausting a small
amount of it outside the dryer. Under Mid-European summer conditions it can raise up
the air temperature between 30 to 40C above the ambient temperature. The solar
dryer was tested for drying of ripe banana slices. The capacity of the dryer was to dry
about 30 kg of banana slices in 8 hours in sunny day from an initial moisture content
of 82% to the final moisture content of 18% (wb). In the same time it reduced to only
62% (wb) moisture content in open sun drying method. The colour, aroma and texture
of the solar dried products were better than the open sun drying products.
2.1.4 Solar air collector with heat exchanger
Metwally et al. (1997) investigated and analyzed the performance of
corrugated duct solar collector. The collector was constructed of corrugated surfaces
similar to those used for compact heat exchangers, with the air flowing normal to
corrugations. The collector was compared with other conventional designs
constructed and tested during the course of this work. The comparison revealed that,
the efficiency of the corrugated duct collector increased by a ratio of 15-43 percent
over that of the next best conventional design.
Bansal et al. (2007) investigated thermal performance of solar air heaters
consists of a porous textile absorber between two PVC foils. The efficiency of the
heaters depended strongly on the characteristics of the textile forming the absorber
and on the back insulation. For an incident solar radiation of 687 W/m 2, a temperature
rise of 16-60C in the air flow through the solar collector at a rate of 800 m 3/h was
achieved and thus yields an efficiency of nearly 71 per cent.

Franz Roman et al. (2007) had conducted investigation of solar roof collector
for preheating of air in Northern Thailand. Results showed that under average weather
conditions, solar air heaters can provide a temperature rise between 14 C and 33C
during midday with entire roof serving as collector and air channel of 10 cm. Solar
collector can replace 19.6 percent of thermal energy demand during drying season.
Bigger collector and smaller air channel resulted in more useful heat.
Yadav and Bajpai (2011) experimentally investigated a solar powered air
heating system using one ended forty evacuated tubes for heating purpose. The
collector surface area is about 4.44 m2. The length and outer diameters of the glass
tube and absorber tube was 1500, 47 and 37 mm, respectively. In this experimental
setup, header (heat exchanger) is of square shape (190 mm x 190 mm). The length of
header was 1500 mm. The header consists of a hollow pipe in the center whose
diameter is 60 mm through which the air is made to flow. The experimental setup
contains approximately 108 liters of water. The study had been done for both up-flow
and down-flow of air in header in similar weather conditions, at different flow rates.
The obtained results show that the system is highly effective for the heating in this
region. Moreover, it has been observed that system is highly efficient for the
particular flow rate of air. It was also observed that downflow configuration is more
effective than up-flow condition at all flow rates due to lesser losses in down-flow.
The results show that temperature differences of upper head and lower head, both of
water and surface of pipes on the respective ends is lower in down-flow.
Tian and Zhao (2012) focuses on the latest developments and advances in
solar thermal applications, providing a review of solar collectors and thermal energy
storage systems. Various types of solar collectors are reviewed and discussed,
including both non-concentrating collectors (low temperature applications) and
concentrating collectors (high temperature applications). These are studied in terms of
optical optimization, heat loss reduction, heat recuperation enhancement and different
sun-tracking mechanisms. Various types of thermal energy storage systems are also
reviewed and discussed, including sensible heat storage, latent heat storage, chemical
storage and cascaded storage. They are studied in terms of design criteria, material
selection and different heat transfer enhancement technologies.



Drying with and without recirculation of exhaust air

Walker and Wilhelm (1995) tested feasibility of saving energy by recirculating

drying air in batch dehydrators. Peaches and apples received treatments of four
constant recirculation rates (0, 25, 50, and 75 per cent). The total energy use for
drying was reduced by 53 per cent when drying peaches and 46 per cent when drying
apples with 75 per cent recirculated air. Total drying times were almost the same for
all recirculation rates. The results also suggested that even higher fixed recirculation
rates could further optimize the drying system for greater energy savings.
Karathanos and Belessiotis (1997) performed drying experiments for various
products, such as Sultana grapes, currants, figs, plums and apricots and the drying
rates were found for various drying operations. Based on the findings of preliminary
runs, the drying cycle of this fully automated industrial dryer was designed to give
maximum quality of dried products with reasonable energy costs. A high air velocity
and medium temperature were utilized in the beginning of the process; while during
the second falling rate period, a medium air velocity, high air temperature and partial
recirculation of the air stream were used. The industrial drying operation resulted in a
product of superior quality.
Pelegrina et al. (1999) developed model which was applied to simulate the
effect of the air recirculation rate on the unit performance, in particular the time taken
and the heat requirements to attain given final water content. The simulation assumed
that part of the exhaust air was made to recycle and mix with the fresh air supply in
controlled proportions, such that the conditions of the gas mixture blown to the drier
could be set and the influence of the amount of air recycled on the drier performance
was calculated. It was shown that there was, for given working conditions, an optimal
mixing proportion which makes the energy delivered a minimum was due to the
influence of the recycle if the drying time was the independent variable.
Schoenau et al. (1999) in their experimental evaluation presented the energy
conservation potential by recirculating exhaust air in commercial heated-air batch hay
dryer. The design of the exhaust recirculation unit was such that only about 30 per
cent of the total exhaust air was recirculated through the heater inlet. Experimental
tests were conducted on the dryer with and without exhaust air recirculation.
Maximum energy savings of 27 per cent and 17 per cent were achieved with exhaust
air recirculation during fall and summer dryer operation, respectively.

Iguaz et al. (2001) developed model for simulating the effect of air recycling
on the performance and energy consumption of a concurrent rotary dryer for
vegetable wholesale by-products. Simulating results indicated that air recycling
provided energy savings of 2138.5 per cent and increased thermal efficiency in a
range of 28-63 per cent for the airflow rates studied. It was found that, for high
recirculation ratios, higher retention times were required to obtain the same final
product moisture content, resulting in a decreased dryer work capacity. Optimum
recirculation ratios were determined for different performance conditions.
Shawik et al. (2001) designed and developed a recirculatory tray dryer of 5
kg/batch using central air distribution system. The dryer was tested for blanched
potato chips at constant air flow rate of 1.5 m 3/min and 65 0C temperature. For
removing moisture from 85.69 per cent (dry basis) to 9.89 per cent (dry basis) the
observed drying time was 3 hours. The heat utilization factor and thermal heat
efficiency was found to be 18.94 per cent and 22.16 per cent respectively.
Bains et al. (2003) studied behavior of apple puree drying in a forced-air
circulation cabinet drier with a cross-flow arrangement using a 3 2 factorial design
of experiments involving air temperature (70C and 94C), flow rate (20 and 41 m/s)
and relative humidity (5 and 15 per cent) as main factors. The results showed that all
three factors influenced rate of drying with the higher temperature-higher air velocitylower relative humidity condition yielding the fastest drying rate, but also adversely
affecting the product quality. A two-stage drying operation involving a high
temperature, low humidity and high flow rate combination in the first stage followed
by a lower temperature finish drying was found to give a better product.
Jain et al. (2003) studied dehydration characteristics of spinach in air
recirculatory tray dryer with different degrees of air recirculation. It was found that
spinach did not have any constant rate of drying period and two clear cut falling rates
were observed. It was also observed that with decrease in 5 oC drying air temperature,
electrical energy requirement reduced by 25 per cent without significantly affecting
total drying time. Whereas, for every 10 per cent increase in recirculation of air, the
electrical energy requirement decreased by 10 -15 per cent. The dehydrated spinach
could be stored safely for six months in the polythene bags.



Desiccant drying
Shanmugam and Natarajan (2005) designed and fabricated an indirect forced

convection and desiccant integrated solar dryer to investigate its performance under
the hot and humid climatic conditions of Chennai, India. The system consists of a flat
plate solar air collector, drying chamber and a desiccant unit. The desiccant unit is
designed to hold 75 kg of CaCl2-based solid desiccant consisting of 60% bentonite,
10% calcium chloride, 20% vermiculite and 10% cement. Drying experiments have
been performed for green peas at different air flow rate. The equilibrium moisture
content (Me) is reached in 14 h at an air flow rate of 0.03 kg/m2 s.
Yahya et al. (2004) studied the performance of a solar assisted
dehumidification system which was incorporated with two columns of desiccant beds
into a solar drying system. The main components of the a solar assisted
dehumidification system consist of a solar collector, an energy storage tank, an
auxiliary heater, two blowers, two columns of desiccant beds (adsorber columns), two
water-air heat exchanger, two water circulating pumps, a drying chamber and other
ancillary equipment. Silica gel was selected as the desiccant material due to low
temperature regeneration. The performance of this system has been investigated under
the meteorological condition of Malaysia. A computer program was developed in
MATLAB software to calculate the performance of the drying system. The
performance indices considered to calculate the performance of the drying system
were: Pick up efficiency (P), Solar Fraction (SF) and Coefficient of Performance
(COP). The results indicated that the maximum values of the pick up efficiency ( P),
solar fraction (SF) and coefficient of performance (COP) was found 70%, 97% and
0.3, respectively with initial and final wet basis moisture content of Centella Asiatica
L 88% and 15%, respectively at an air velocity is 3.25 m/s.
Weintraub (2002) studied the importance of silica gels that how it varies
in performance in order to select the most cost-effective gel for a
particular application. MH, the hysteresis corrected buffering capacity of
silica gel is the critical variable for assessing silica gel efficiency.
Calculating the correct quantity of silica gel allows for the cost-efficient
selection of an appropriate amount of buffering material. If certain
variables in the calculation are unknown, such as leakage rate or
external RH conditions, general recommendations based on average


display conditions had been provided, both for temporary exhibitions

and for permanent displays.

Misha et al. (2012) studied the low cost and low regeneration temperature of
desiccant material, and the optimization of desiccant application to produce more in
competitive energy. The use of heat to regenerate desiccant material in a drying
system had limitations in energy saving. However the use of low energy or free
available energy such as solar energy and waste heat from industrial processes for
regeneration of desiccant material will make the system more cost-effective. Several
works on the regenerative method of the desiccant system and its application in the
drying system for both solid and liquid desiccant materials had been studied.
Badgujar (2012) designed and tested forced convection with
desiccant integrated solar dryer. The main parts were: two flat plate
solar air collectors, a drying chamber, desiccant bed and a
centrifugal blower. In the off sunshine hours, the dryer was operated
by circulating the air inside the drying chamber through the
desiccant bed by a reversible fan. The dryer is used to dry 20 kg of








conducted with and without the integration of desiccant unit. The

drying efficiency of the system varies between 48% and 59% and
the pick-up efficiency varies between 25% and 60%, respectively.
Approximately in all the drying experiments 68% of moisture is
removed by air heated using solar energy and the remainder by the
desiccant. The inclusion of reflective mirror on the desiccant bed
makes faster regeneration of the desiccant material.
2.2 Onion drying
Rapusas et al. (1995) reported the bulk density and void fraction of onion
slices varied non-linearly with moisture content and linearly with slice thickness. For
dried onion flakes, the bulk density and void fraction varied non-linearly with slice
thickness and moisture content. The experimental results on bulk density and void
fraction of onion slices and of dried onion flakes were best explained by second order
polynomial models.

Elustondo et al. (1996) presented a simple model for dehydration of onion

pieces which accounted the change of interfacial surface area undergone by the
samples as drying proceeds, as well as the different water removal rates through
surfaces of different characteristics. It was assumed that the drying rate is linearly
proportional to the instantaneous water content. Numerical integration of the
instantaneous rates allowed the calculation of water removed during a given time and
conversely, the drying time required to reduce the water content to a given extent as a
function of the sample size. This information was relevant in order to design the
cutting technique, which would produce particles of adequate size for practical
Baroni and Hubinger (1998) investigated the drying of osmosed and fresh
onions. Onion slices (0.8 x 0.8 x 0.15 cm) soaked in sodium chloride solutions (10 per
cent and 15 per cent w/w) for 6 minutes at 22C were dried. The results showed that
those samples were socked in the NaCl solution had faster drying rates and higher
moisture diffusion coefficients. The drying time of onions could be reduced to less
than half by introducing an hour of osmotic dehydration in a salt solution.
Sarsavadia et al. (1998) developed a batch type dryer with an online weighing
mechanism for determining the thin layer behavior of onion. Thin layer drying rates
of brined onion were experimentally determined at four levels of drying air
temperature (50 -80C), four levels of airflow velocity (0.25-1.00 m/s) and three
levels of air relative humidity (range, 10-20 per cent). The Arrhenius-type model was
found more suitable for predicting drying rate constants.
Akbari and Patel (2002) developed a laboratory scale thin layer dryer for
conducting the experiments on dehydration. The effects of independent variables,
namely the drying air temperature, velocity of air and thickness of onion slice on the
drying time, sensory quality, rehydration characteristics and bacterial counts were
studied. It was recommended that the dehydration of onion should be carried out at 76
C drying temperature and 27 m/min velocity of air, keeping 3 mm thickness of slice
to get good quality of dehydrated flakes.
Sharma et al. (2005) developed a laboratory scale infrared-convective dryer.
The effects of process variables such as infrared power, drying air temperature and air
velocity on drying time, moisture diffusivity and re-hydration characteristics of onion

slices were studied. It was observed that the drying time reduced by as much as 2.25
times in infrared power range of 300 to 500 W, air temperatures 35 to 45 0C at
velocity 1.0 to 1.5 m/s.
Kothari et al. (2009) evaluate the performance of mixed mode type solar dryer
for drying onion flakes. During the experiments, no load and full load test were
conducted to find out the effectiveness to the system with or without recirculation of
exhaust air. The drying and thermal efficiencies and heat utilization factors were
recorded as 21%, 74% and 31% respectively, more compared to recirculation of
exhaust air test. The quality of dried onion flakes without recirculation of exhaust air
test was superior. The recirculation of exhaust air was founded feasible only with use
of desiccant material.
2.3 Techno Economic Evaluation
Vijayaraghavan et al. (1990) developed a solar papaya dryer of 4.3 m2 area
having 10 trays for accommodating products. They observed that solar drying yielded
a better quality papain as compared to conventional sun dried papaya. Solar drying
also resulted in 78.0-87.5 per cent savings in drying time.
Budin and Mihelic-Bogdanic (1994) conducted a study on three basic types of
fossil fueled drying process in comparison with solar energy drying system. The fossil
fuel saving for drying was observed ranging in between 14.6 to100 per cent
depending on the period of the year.
Jain et al. (2004) evaluated the techno-economics of forced convective solar
dryer for drying of groundnut, ginger and garlic in comparison to electrically operated
mechanical dryer. The benefit cost ratio for the solar dryer and mechanical dryer were
found to be 1.56 and 1.118 respectively.
Sevada and Rathore (2004) evaluated techno economics of solar tunnel dryer
installed in an industry for commercial application. The net present worth for
commercial solar tunnel dryer was Rs.78,74,500/- whereas for diesel fired electrical
dryer it was Rs. 36,52,500 /-. The benefit cost ratio for solar tunnel dryer and diesel
fired electrical dryer was observed as 7.08 and 2.56 respectively. The payback period
of solar tunnel dryer and diesel fired electrical dryer was 10 months and 2.9 years,