Solar dryers are where our work to innovate appropriate agri-processing technologies that work for business as well as the environment first started in the 1990s. The photo above shows the solar dryers developed by Tropical Wholefoods and Fruits of the Nile in Uganda with the support of the Natural Resources Institute (NRI) in the UK, which are still in use today.
Harnessing the free power of our sun, solar dryers can dry a range of products in a natural and environmentally sustainable way. They can be designed to operate in certain weather conditions where open-air drying would not be feasible. They also allow various risks associated with open-air drying to be significantly reduced or even eliminated, such as contamination and loss due to product being eaten by livestock, insects and birds.
(2015 – present)
Fullwell Transform developed a new solar dryer design aimed initially at Fruits of the Nile’s suppliers of dried banana, pineapple and physalis in Uganda.
The new design is expected to result in a higher quality product (including lighter colour) and enable suppliers to increase their capacity. The dryer has a fresh weight capacity of 200kg. It is also expected to allow suppliers to dry product in weather conditions which their present solar drying technologies do not. This is as a result of the addition of solar-powered fans. All this is expected to reduce waste and increase output, in addition to product quality improvements.
A number of people outside of Fruits of the Nile’s supply-chain have already adopted the new design for drying products such as mango and pumpkin.
Fullwell Transform supported Gebana Afrique in Burkina Faso with the development of a small-scale hybrid dryer that could use both solar and biogas as energy sources.
The aim was to test smaller scale (around 15kg of fresh input weight) solar drying with the help of biogas. The focus product was mango, but the dryer could be used or adapted to dry any fruit or vegetable. The scale of the dryer means that it could potentially work well at a household level, with biogas being generated from livestock or other household waste for example.