Solar energy was employed to speed up the drying of Habanero peppers. The drying of habanero chilies is a key seasonal product for Mexican growers, but it is both costly and energy-intensive. A feasibility study was conducted to assess the market trend and the best drying conditions for redesigning the Habanero chilli drying process utilising a hybrid solar-electric energy system. The new drying process will be divided into two stages: (a) An open solar dryer was used; (b) a prototype fluidized bed dryer was retrofitted with a low-temperature solar collector for air heating. Habanero chilli was dehydrated from 90% moisture to 5% moisture in 10.3 hours, yielding a high-quality product ready for commercialization. A 50 percent reduction in average drying time was accomplished, as well as a percent reduction in energy consumption in the fluidized bed drier, with an energy savings of 0.52 kg of natural gas per kg of fresh Habanero chilli. To grow the market for Habanero chillies, an innovative sustainable efficient drying technology was developed, which will save % on energy when compared to traditional equipment.
Author (s) Details
Elizabeth Cortés Rodríguez
Create, Innovate, Develop, SA de CV, 97204, Yucatán, México.
Isaac Pilatowsky Figueroa
Centro de Investigación en Ingeniería y Ciencias Aplicadas, CIICAP, Universidad Autónoma del Estado de Morelos, México.
Claudia A. Ruiz Mercado
School of Chemical Engineering, University of Yucatán, Yucatán 97203, México.
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