|By pinoyfarmer | February 15, 2010|
Los Banos, Laguna — The Philippine Council for Agriculture, Forestry and Natural Resources Research and Development of the Department of Science and Technology (PCRRD-DOST), is promoting the nationwide use of an improve coconut dryer in coordination with the College of Engineering and Agro-Industrial Technology of the University of thee Philippines Los Banos 9CEAT-UPLB). Dr. Ernesto P. Lozada, Dean of CEAT-UPLB and an acknowledged expert in postharvest/crop processing, said that the dryer improves the quality of copra which the traditional coconut dryer “tapaahan” is unable to achieve.
Aside from coconut, the dryer also dries other crops like palay, corn, coffee, cacao and black pepper. It can also be used for making dehydrated fruit products like mango, pineapple, and jackfruit. Furthermore, it can be used in drying fish.
The multi-crop dryer has an improved temperature control, minimal smoke contamination, improved heat utilization efficiency, and more or less uniformed drying. It has a capacity of 250 kg copra (l,000 nuts) in one loading. A square cross section ensures a uniform air flow during drying. It is made of different locally available materials depending on the model. The dryer has three models. These are the collapsible (knock- down type), mobile, and fixed models.
For collapsible and mobile models, the walls of the dryer are double-lined with G.I. sheets. The fixed model has walls made of hollow blocks, bricks, or woodslabs/adobe stones. The mobile model is made of wood and G.I. sheets.
The dryer’s system is composed of a product holding bin where the products are laid for drying, a plenum or burner chamber where the burner (source of drying) is located, observation ports, doors, and cleaning ports. According to Lozada, the key to efficient temperature control of the dryer are proper design of the burner and proper preparation of the fuel. The burner of the dryer is lined with more than 3 cm thick castable refractory material. It uses waste materials such as coconut shell shards, wood, and charcoal, as fuel. A burner- load of coconut shell shard weighing about 9 kg lasts between 2 and 3 hours. Thus, for a total load of 500 kg copra, the specific fuel consumption of the burner is only 0.4 fuel per kg copra.
Construction of the dryer costs only PHP 10,000, which is relatively affordable, especially for farmers’ cooperatives. Models of this dryer are demonstrated in various technology fairs/fora organized by the different DOST Regional Offices. For details, please contact Dr. Amado Maglinao, Director, Farm Resources and Systems Research Division, PCARRD, Los Banos, Laguna. (R.B. Alamban, PCARRD, S&T Media Service)