Solar Energy, Vol.196, 270-286, 2020
Design and numerical analysis of a hybrid geothermal PCM flat plate solar collector dryer for developing countries
Drying techniques reduce post-harvest food deterioration. However, conventional drying consumes 20-25% of the energy used in food processing industries. This work presents a detailed design and comprehensive numerical analysis of a hybrid geothermal-PCM flat plate solar collector, which is in effect a self-sustaining renewable energy food drying system. The applicability of the hybrid geothermal-solar dryer for developing countries with a significant underground geothermal temperature gradient is investigated. The performed numerical analysis promises high efficiency and effectivity of this near-zero hybrid energy technology. The proposed conceptual design assessed using the related mathematical model to assess the functional parameters of the hybrid geothermal PCM flat plate solar collector dryer. Numerical simulation showed that the efficiency of hybrid geothermal PA-FPSC is 20.5% higher than conventional flat plate solar collector when the mass flow rate is at 0.02 kg/s. Therefore, successful integration of this technology to the existing food processing industries of the developing countries could be a step towards the prevention of irreversible climate change achieving SDG 12 (sustainable development goals).