Evaluation of a solar dryer in a high altitude area of Nepal
Fuller, R.J., Aye, L. and Zahnd, A. (2007) Evaluation of a solar dryer in a high altitude area of Nepal. In: Solar07 45th ANZSES Annual Conference, 2 - 6 October, Alice Springs, Australia
Nepal is a poor country and is ranked 138 out of 177 countries in terms of standard of living, with approximately 38% of the population earning less than US$1 per day. Of the 75 province in Nepal, Humla has been judged to be the second poorest. Using a ranking of 1 (best) to 75 (worst), Humla was overall ranked 74th in terms of poverty, deprivation and women's empowerment (73rd), and 72nd in terms of socio-economic and infrastructure development. Humla is also a permanent food deficient area and to improve general food security, a small number of solar dryers have been introduced into the area to increase and improve crop preservation. This paper describes the evaluation of one of the solar dryers located at RIDS-Nepal's High Altitude Research Station (HARS) in Simikot, the main town of the Humla District. The purpose of the evaluation was to determine the effectiveness of the current design. The results of the evaluation indicate that in terms of drying efficiency the solar dryer is not superior to sun drying. In large part, this is due to the poor air distribution through the dryer. Collector and drying efficiencies of 20-31% and 13% respectively were calculated. These are considered to be low for this type of solar dryer. Although theoretically the solar dryer could pay for itself in approximately two years of continuous use in the non-winter months, there appears to be little justification for the additional capital outlay, other than the possibility of more hygienic drying conditions, when sun drying could achieve similar results. As a result of the evaluation, some suggestions are made on an alternative and perhaps more suitable type of solar dryer for the Humla District.
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