Solar Energy, Vol.83, No.9, 1472-1484, 2009
Improvement in greenhouse solar drying using inclined north wall reflection
A conventional greenhouse solar dryer of 6 m(2) x 4 m(2) floor area (east-west orientation) was improved for faster drying using inclined north wall reflection (INWR) under natural as well as forced convection mode. To increase the solar radiation availability onto the product (to be dried) during extreme summer months, a temporary inclined wall covered with aluminized reflector sheet (of 50 mu m thickness and reflectance 0.93) was raised inside the greenhouse just in front of the vertical transparent north wall. By doing so, product fully received the reflected beam radiation (which otherwise leaves through the north wall) in addition to the direct total solar radiation available on the horizontal surface during different hours of drying. The increment in total solar radiation input enhanced the drying rate of the product by increasing the inside air and crop temperature of the dryer. Inclination angle of the reflective north wall with vertical (beta) was optimized for various selective widths of the tray W (1.5, 2, 2.5 and 3 m) and for different realistic heights of existing vertical north wall (h) at 25 degrees N, 30 degrees N and 35 degrees N latitudes (hot climatic zones). Experimental performance of the improved dryer was tested during the month of May 2008 at Ludhiana (30.56 degrees N) climatic conditions, India by drying bitter gourd (Momordica charantia Linn) slices. Results showed that by using INWR under natural convection mode of drying. greenhouse air and crop temperature increased by 1-6.7 degrees C and 1-4 degrees C, respectively, during different drying hours as compared to, when INWR was not used and saved 13.13% of the total drying time. By using INWR under forced convection mode of drying, greenhouse air and crop temperature increased by 1-4.5 degrees C and 1-3 degrees C, respectively, during different drying hours as compared to, when INWR was not used and saved 16.67% of the total drying time. (C) 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.