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Title A retractable solar dryer to aid self-reliance of homesteads in the post-covid-19 era
Author Name Dipak S. Khatawkar
Abstract

A large population in the country is facing encumbrance in basic food supply chain owing to lockdown and social distancing due to COVID-19. An attempt was made to develop a low-cost foldable solar dryer to aid self-reliance of homesteads. The novel solar dryer was based on light-weight foldable skeleton and UV stabilized polyethylene enclosure with a solar powered forced air circulation system. The developed solar dryer with a capacity to dry 50 coconuts in a batch (100 splits) could reduce the moisture level of freshly harvested coconut kernels from 48 per cent (d. b.) to a safe moisture level below 7 per cent (d. b.) on fifth day of drying. Though drying period of developed solar dryer was similar to the conventional sun drying method, the quality of copra produced was indisputably superior. The fungal infection in the copra was substantially lowered (9%) compared to open sun drying (35 %) by virtue of the hygienic and protected drying in the enclosed drying chamber. The developed solar dryer is useful for drying other food products also as it can provide complete protection of the materials against dust, insect and unseasonal precipitation.

Keyword Coconut , Drying curve , Solar dryer , Sun drying ,
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