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Desalination 185 (2005) 535–541 Study of the solar drying of grapes by three different processes

Desalination 185 (2005) 535–541

Desalination 185 (2005) 535–541 Study of the solar drying of grapes by three different processes A.

Study of the solar drying of grapes by three different processes

A. Fadhel a *, S. Kooli a , A. Farhat a , A. Bellghith b

a National institute of Scientific and Technical Research, BP 95 Hammam-lifs. Tunisia b b Faculty of the Sciences of Tunis, Academic Campus, 1060 the Belvede`re Tunis. Tunisia e-mail: fad_ham@yahoo.fr, hazamdi321@yahoo.fr

Received 27 April 2005; accepted 5 May 2005

Abstract

The objective of this work is to analyse the drying of the Sultanine grape variety by three different solar processes. Three drying kinetics have been established respectively in a natural convection solar drier, under a tunnel greenhouse and in open sun. These tests show that the solar tunnel greenhouse drying is satisfactory and competitive to a natural convection solar drying process.

Keywords: Grape drying; Natural convection solar drier; Solar tunnel greenhouse drying; Open sun drying

1. Introduction

Grapes are one of the most popular and palatable fruits in the world. The preservation of grapes by drying is a major industry in many parts of the world where grapes are grown. Drying the grape, either by open sun drying, shade drying or mechanical drying, produces raisins. Solar crop drying has been demon- strated to be cost effective and could be an effective alternative to traditional and mechan- ical drying systems, especially in locations with good sunshine during the harvest season [1].

*Corresponding author.

Solar grape drying practices are several and largely traditional. In the traditional (open sun) drying method, the grape bunches are spread over either the ground or on a platform in a thin layer directly exposed to the sun. This method is cheapest and is suc- cessfully employed in grapes producing coun- tries. Practically no capital outlay for equipment is required, although considerable labour may be involved, which is seldom costly. There is a risk of deterioration due to dust and insect infection. Moreover, in open air drying, while collecting the prepared rai- sins, one usually collects, along with the

Presented at the Conference on Desalination and the Environment, Santa Margherita, Italy, 22–26 May 2005. European Desalination Society.

0011-9164/05/$– See front matter 2005 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved

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A. Fadhel et al. / Desalination 185 (2005) 535–541

raisins, small stones, leaves, dust etc. which are hard to remove [2]. Another improved solar tunnel greenhouse drying method was newly explored in Tunisia [3]. This method is also cheap because green- houses are untapped during the hot season. The grape bunches are spread over trays arranged in two levels or more. In this case, the grapes are protected with the transparent sheet so that the weather risk is reduced. The quality of the raisins is also better in compar- ison to that when dried in open sun drying. An alternative to the traditional techni- ques is the artificial drying process. Various types of solar dryer are used for grapes drying [4]. Natural convection solar dryer, consisting of flat plate solar air heater coupled to a drying chamber, is attractive to grape growers, but a large number of small farmers engaged in growing grapes have not been able to use this because of the large initial invest- ment and additional running cost. The analysis of the aspects of drying con- ditions permits to better understand this process and to appropriate the action to undertake for further progress. The main objective of this paper is to investigate the three mentioned solar grape drying processes and to recommend the best of it.

2.

procedures

Processes

of

drying

and

experimental

The seedless Sultanine grape variety, was

chosen because of its big local production during summer. The clusters of grapes are soaked in an alkali solution (1% of sodium

90 C. The period of

hydroxide) heated to

soaking is about two to three seconds; the immersion is made two to three times succes- sively. This operation of scalding creates some fissures on the skin of the grapes. These fissures enable the water to cross the initially impermeable membrane. Then the grapes are cleaned with distilled water at ambient temperature [5,6]. The grape bunches are spread over a grid support in a single layer and then placed respectively in open sun, in a natural convection solar drier and under a farmer tunnel greenhouse (Fig. 1). The grapes are weighted continuously, and thus one can determine the variation of water content versus times. The meteorologi- cal parameters as well as the mass and the product temperature are measured during the drying operation. Drying experiments have been conducted outdoor, under greenhouse and in a solar drier at changed intervals of times, from the end of August to beginning September 2000 and 2001. The climates

of August to beginning September 2000 and 2001. The climates (a) (b) (c) Fig. 1. Grape

(a)

(b)

(c)

Fig. 1. Grape drying processes: (a) open sun drying (b) natural convection solar drier and (c) solar tunnel greenhouse drying.

&

A. Fadhel et al. / Desalination 185 (2005) 535–541

537

during these three periods are similar and therefore the experimental results can be compared on the same scale of time. Drying of grapes was started with an initial moisture content varied between 5 and 6,2 (wet basis).

3. Experimental results and interpretation

The drying kinetics of grapes with drying time is shown in Fig. 2. We note that the drying of grapes in the natural convection solar drier is the fastest. The grapes get dried to the commercial norm of moisture content, 16% (dry basis) [7], with 211 h (about 9 days). For the two other processes, the required drying time is too large and the commercial norms are not reached in the experiments. To compare these three pro- cesses we used a moisture content reference X ref = 1 corresponding to a water loss of about 80%. The grapes in the solar drier get dried to the moisture content reference with 77 h (about 4 days). The grapes in the green- house get dried with 119 h (about 5 days). The grapes in open sun get dried with more than 250 h (more than 11 days).

Fig. 2 shows also that during a first phase the drying process is rapid enough, especially in the solar drier and under greenhouse. As the drying progresses, its speed decreases. The grapes absorb humidity during night provok- ing fluctuations of the water content between the day and the night. In the solar drier, these oscillations dump with drying time. The inter- ruption of drying during night increases the drying time. Fig. 3 shows the variation curves of the product temperature with time for green- house drying, open sun drying and the solar drier. We note a sinusoidal variation of the product temperature with time. The product temperature in open sun drying and in the solar drier varied from 20 C to 45 C. The diurnal variation amplitude under greenhouse is more significant. The maximum product temperature reached during the drying days under greenhouse is about 60 C. Fig. 4 shows the variation curves of the product temperature (T p ) for the solar drier, the drying chamber air temperature (T i ) and the external air temperature (T a ) with time.

7 6 In the open air Under greenhouse In the drier 5 4 3 2
7
6
In the open air
Under greenhouse
In the drier
5
4
3
2
1
0
0
50
100
150
200
Water content, X (kg.kg –1 )

Fig. 2. Variation of water content with drying time: ( ( & ) solar tunnel greenhouse draying.

Time in hour

) open sun drying, ( ) natural convection solar drier and

&

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80 70 In the drier In the open air Under greenhouse 60 50 40 30
80
70
In the drier
In the open air
Under greenhouse
60
50
40
30
20
10
0
20
40
60
80
100
120
140
Product temperature, Tp(˚C)

Time in hour

Fig. 3. Evolution of the product temperature with drying time: ( sun drying and ( ) natural convection solar drier.

) solar tunnel greenhouse drying, ( & ) open

We note that the product temperature and the drying chamber air temperature curves were identical. During the night the product temperatures and the drying chamber air fit with the outside air temperature. The maxi- mum product temperature reached, at solar noon, were about 50 C. Fig. 5 shows the variation curves of the product temperature (T p ) for open sun drying

and the external air temperature (T a ) with time. We note that during the night the pro- duct temperature fits with the external air temperature. During the day, the product temperature was larger than the external air temperature. The maximum product tempera- ture reached, at solar noon, were about 50 C. Heat is generated by absorption of solar energy by the grapes. The increased pro-

80 Tp (˚C) 70 Ta (˚C) Ti (˚C) 60 50 40 30 20 10 0
80
Tp (˚C)
70
Ta (˚C)
Ti (˚C)
60
50
40
30
20
10
0
50
100
150
200
250
Temperature, T(˚C)

Time in hour

Fig. 4. Natural convection solar drier temperatures: (T p ) Product temperature, (T i ) Drying chamber air temperature and (T a ) External air temperature.

A. Fadhel et al. / Desalination 185 (2005) 535–541

539

80 Tp (˚C) 70 Ta (˚C) 60 50 40 30 20 10 0 50 100
80
Tp (˚C)
70
Ta (˚C)
60
50
40
30
20
10
0
50
100
150
200
250
Temperature, T(˚C)

Time in hour

Fig. 5. Open sun drying temperatures: (T p ) Product temperature and (T a ) External air temperature.

duct temperature has the effect to evaporate the water contained in the product. The role of the outside air is just to refresh the product. Fig. 6 shows the variation curves of the product temperature (T p ) for solar tunnel greenhouse drying, the inside air temperature (T ai ) and the external air temperature (T a ) with time. We note that during the night the

product temperature falls down below the inside air temperature of about 2 C. During the day, the product temperature exceeds rapidly the inside air temperature and reached a maximum of about 60 C, at solar noon. Like the open sun drying, the role of the inside air here is to refresh the product. Fig. 7 shows the variation curves of the air relative humidity, inside and outside the

80 Tp Tai 70 Ta 60 50 40 30 20 10 0 20 40 60
80
Tp
Tai
70
Ta
60
50
40
30
20
10
0
20
40
60
80
100
120
140
Temperature, T(˚C)

Time in hour

Fig. 6. Solar tunnel greenhouse drying temperatures: (T p ) Product temperature, (T ai ) inside air temperature and (T a ) External air temperature.

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100 RH I RH E 80 60 40 20 0 0 20 40 60 80
100
RH I
RH E
80
60
40
20
0
0
20
40
60
80
100
120
140
Relative humidity, HR(%)

Time in hour

Fig. 7. Evolution of the relative humidity with time: (RH I) inside greenhouse and (RH E) outside greenhouse.

greenhouse with time. Fig. 8 shows the evolu- tion of the solar radiation, inside and outside the greenhouse according to time. During the night, the relative humidity was raised. Dur- ing the day, when the solar radiation becomes intense, the interior air relative humidity decreases and become very weak at solar noon. It is the most favourable period of the day for drying.

4. Conclusion

Solar tunnel greenhouse drying was found to be satisfactory and competitive to natural convection solar drying process. In effect the drying times in the farmer greenhouse and in the natural convection solar drier are near, respectively five days and four days. The solar greenhouse drying is advantageous in regard to solar drier. Indeed greenhouse

1000 Gi (W.m –2 ) Ge (W.m –2 ) 800 600 400 200 0 0
1000
Gi (W.m –2 )
Ge (W.m –2 )
800
600
400
200
0
0
20
40
60
80
100
120
140
Solar radiation (W.m –2 )

Time in hour

Fig. 8. Evolution of solar radiation with time: (G i ) inside greenhouse and (G e ) outside.

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drying presents a big drying capacity and don’t require a large initial investment or additional running cost.

References

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