Testing of hybrid solar-powered dehydrator machine on other crops begins

Testing of hybrid solar-powered dehydrator machine on other crops begins through a new project funded by the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic, and Natural Resources Research and Development of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST-PCAARRD).

Dr. Renerio S. Mucas, project leader from Iloilo Science and Technology University (ISATU) previously developed a programmable dehydrator machine also through the Grants-in-Aid program of DOST-PCAARRD.

In testing the machine on other crops, the project team will take off from the results of the previously developed machine, which was intended only for herbal tea materials. Dr. Mucas said that the dehydrator machine can efficiently dry fresh leaves of guava, moringa, guyabano, and roselle flower petals. It is scientifically designed to allow drying of tea materials while retaining their highest nutritional and medicinal value. It uses solar energy with back-up commercial power source. It has a programmable temperature, heat catcher as air dehumidifier, among other features.

 

The Ephrathah farms, a producer of herbal tea in Brgy. Sariri, Badiangan, Iloilo has partnered with ISATU in testing the machine. It enabled Ephrathah Farms to increase its production capacity for up to 5 kg/ day at a lower energy cost.

Under the newly approved pilot-testing project, the machine will be further modified to suit the requirements of other crops such as ginger, turmeric, banana crackers, abaca fibers, and “lamayo.” Optimum conditions for drying the products will be determined and protocols for drying will be established. Modifications and refinement on the machine will be done based on results of performance evaluation and users’ feedback analysis. The project will also determine the economic viability of using the technology.

The use of machine is expected to reduce cost of drying process by reducing production time while maintaining the quality of dried products. The technology output is expected to generate income from sales of fabricated dryer and processed dried products. Use of dehydrator machine by food enterprises will provide job opportunities to people in the community by taking part in the production or by supplying raw materials needed for various products.