A new type of solar dryer that dries rice, corn and other seed crops more efficiently than concrete pavements (and roads) commonly used by local farmers will be available shortly.
This is the Bubble Solar Dryer (BSD) developed by GrainPro in close collaboration with the International Rice Research Institute and Germany’s Hohenheim University.
The new dryer will be commercially launched at the GrainPro Philippines office at the Subic Bay Freeport Zone on September 30, according to Victor de la Casa, spokesperson of the company.
Bubble Solar Dryer is the latest product of the US-based GrainPro which earlier developed postharvest equipment like the ‘SuperGrainbag, the Self-Verifying Cocoon and Collapsible Dryer Case or CDC.
According to the company’s statement, BSD is designed to mitigate the effects of unpredictable weather and climate change by safely drying commodities to the right moisture content.
The Bubble Solar Dryer is like a tunnel made of durable materials. Its transparent polyethelene cover is UV-resistant and water repellent. On the other hand, its drying floor is made of sturdy plastic materials to ensure that water can’t penetrate from below in case of heavy rains.
The transparent cover acts like a bubble that traps solar radiation and heats up the commodity being dried. Moisture is then vaporized and pushed out by built-in ventilators (which also maintain the shape of the bubble).
The SBD can dry grains and other seeds at an average drying rate of 0.5% moisture content per hour for palay and corn. During sunny weather conditions, the drying rate is twice as fast in the SBD compared to regular sun-drying.
Normally, sun-drying is the cheapest and most preferred method used by smallhold farming communities. Unfortunately, sun dependent drying is not the most reliable method resulting in substantial losses, damaged commodities and added economic losses for farmers.