Students of the National Polytechnic Institute (IPN) designed a solar food dehydrator, in order to promote the use of alternative sources of energy and prevent food waste, especially in rural areas, where some of the crops have not decompose technologies for conservation.
Students of the National School of Biological Sciences (ENCB) José Alberto Morales Melchor, Celic Reynoso Alfredo Blanco, Yessica Martinez and Maricela González Soriano Mendez created a new design of solar dryers, and pointed out that when food is dehydrated, their water activity is minimal and, therefore, microorganisms can not proliferate and are arrested most of the chemical and enzymatic reactions
Melchor Morales said that contrary to its versatility, the dehydration of food dryers is an expensive process, because it uses too much energy and contributes to significantly raise the cost of final products.
“In addition to this, the growing scarcity of conventional energy, especially fossil fuels has caused a crisis in the availability of energy for industrialization of all types of products. Therefore, the use of solar energy food processing is feasible and should be applied at least in the drying stage, “he said.
The polytechnic student explained that some products can be dried with the prototype are peanuts, rice, corn and grains in general as well as peaches, grapes, apples, guava, beets, cucumber, carrots, garlic, onions and peppers, among others. “The objective of drying is to reduce the moisture content of a product to achieve longer storage periods and, above all, preserve the nutritional value of food,” he said.
He mentioned that in rural areas are harvested fruits of the season, but a significant number of them are lost because producers do not know how to preserve them. A very effective method for conservation is dehydrated. This prototype is a proposal that in these areas can dehydrate your products and use them throughout the year or when there is no production.
White Rose indicated that the prototype will reduce drying time, since in general terms only require ten hours to complete the conservation process. “Dehydration of corn and carrots was carried out in seven hours, while the apple, beet, cucumber and guava were dehydrated in a span of eight to ten hours,” he said.
Said that dehydration implies control over the weather conditions inside a chamber. “In the dryer light rays from the sun are converted into heat through a greenhouse called solar collector, which includes a dark surface, preferably black, which receives and absorbs the light rays.”