This paper presents the design, construction and performance evaluation of a shallow solar tunnel dryer for agro and industrial products. In the shallow solar tunnel dryer, there are three separate units viz.: an air heating unit, drying unit and air diversion unit. Total area of the solar tunnel dryer was 21 m². The heated air from a separate solar air heating zone is passed through a product bed, and at the same time, the drying tunnel bed absorbs solar energy directly through the transparent UV stabilized plastic sheet used as covering material. This dryer was not required any external sources of the power to operate the electrical fan. The system was designed to operate at a temperature of 50 to 60oC. The system was installed at the institute and initial testing was conducted. After that the system was also demonstrated at the actual potential user’s site. The results obtained during the test period revealed that the temperatures inside the tunnel drying zone and solar air heating zone were much higher than the ambient air temperature during most hours of the day-light. The temperature rise inside the drying tunnel was up to 67.4°C at peak hour’s period (noon). The drying rat e and thermal efficiency of the collector were 1.73 kg/h and 26.0% respectively. The high outlet temperature indicated the scope of loading the dryer further.
Demonstration, Grid independent dryer, Solar dryer, Solar PV, Tunnel dryer
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