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Continental J.

Engineering Sciences 11 (1): 28 - 33, 2016


Wilolud Journals, 2016
Printed in Nigeria

ISSN: 2141 4068


http://www.wiloludjournal.com
doi:10.5707/cjengsci.2016.11.1.28.33

RESEARCH ARTICLE

PERFORMANCE EVALUATION OF SOLAR FISH DRYER


*1

Oluwole, F. A., A. M. El-Jummah1, M. Ben Oumarou1 and Kabir M. A. Wanori2


1
Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Maiduguri, Nigeria.
2Sky Network Communications Limited, Maiduguri, Nigeria.
ABSTRACT
Locally fabricated solar fish dryer was evaluated using Tilapia fish. Four set up of solar
dryers were used - A- oven without reflector with air vent closed; B- oven without
reflector with air vent opened; C- oven with reflector with air vent closed and D- oven
with reflector with air vent opened. The experiments were performed between the hours
of 7:00 am and 4:00 pm. Results obtained showed that from 7:00 am to 12:00 noon, the
oven with reflector and vents closed removed moisture faster, followed by oven with
reflector and vents opened, thereafter the rate of moisture removal reduces. However,
the oven without reflector had final higher moisture removal.
KEYWORDS: Solar dryer, reflector, tilapia fish, thermometer, moisture
Received for Publication: 17/01/15
Accepted for Publication: 15/03/16
Corresponding Author: engrfasiu@yahoo.com

INTRODUCTION
Fish is a very important component of the diet for people throughout the world because of its high
protein content and nutritional value. Ayyappan and Diwan (2003), reported that fish supplies
approximately 6% of global protein. Fish may be classed as either white, oily, or shell fish
(Komolafe et al., 2011). Ogunleye and Awogbemi (2008), reported that in most developing
countries where there is high rate of malnutrition, fish provides nutritious food which is often
cheaper than meat and therefore available to a larger number of people. Fish are an extremely
perishable foodstuff. Fish invariably become putrid within a few hours of capture unless they are
preserved or processed in some way to reduce this microbial and autolytic activity and, hence,
retard spoilage (Komolafe et al., 2011). Spoilage therefore begins as soon as the fish dies and
processing should therefore be done as quickly as possible to prevent the growth of spoilage
bacteria. Spoilage occurs as a result of the action of enzymes (autolysis) and bacteria present in

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Oluwole et al.: Continental J. Engineering Sciences 11 (1): 28 - 33, 2016

the fish, and also chemical oxidation of the fat which causes rancidity. At the high temperatures
prevalent in tropical countries, bacterial and enzymic action is enhanced (Komolafe et al., 2011).
Peter and Ann (1992) stated that the acid content of fish is low and is therefore, susceptible to the
growth of poisoning bacteria. It has been affirmed that the moisture content of fish ranged between
65 - 80% (Clucas 1975, 1982 and Komolafe et al,. 2011); if this is reduce to around 25%, bacteria
cannot survive and autolytic activity will be greatly reduced. Mould will cease to grow at moisture
content of 15 per cent or less; well dried fish if stored under right conditions can be kept for several
months (Komolafe et al., 2011). Salting and drying are traditional methods of preserving fish; they
have been used for centuries and dried salted products are still popular in many areas, particularly
in Africa, SE Asia and Latin America. If the moisture content of fresh fish is reduced during drying
to around 25%, bacteria cannot survive and autolytic activity will be greatly reduced, but to prevent
mould growth, the moisture content must be reduced to 15%. The presence of salt retards bacterial
action and, in addition, it aids the removal of water by osmosis. When salt is added to fish before
drying, a final moisture content of 35 - 45% in the flesh, depending on the salt concentration may
be sufficiently low to inhibit bacteria. In order to improve the drying techniques, the use of solar
dryers has been investigated as an alternative to traditional sun drying. Solar dryers worked on the
principle of collecting or concentrating solar radiation which resulted in elevated temperatures and,
in turn, lower relative humidity favourable for drying. The advantages of solar drier are the zero
energy cost and environmental friendly of its operation (Joshua and Vasu 2012, Sagar Raju et al.,
2013). This paper presents the results of the performance evaluation of solar fish dryer with solar
concentrator and without solar concentrator carried out using Tilapia fish as test samples.
MATERIALS AND METHOD
MATERIALS
The materials used for the evaluation of the solar fish dryer are:
Solar Fish Dryer (SFD Unimaid 1) Designed and manufactured in University of Maiduguri; fresh
Tilapia fish (Oreochromis Niloticus), measuring scale; Mercury in glass thermometer Stop watch;
Thermometer (Dry and Wet bulb industrial thermometer); Electronic balance
DESCRIPTION AND OPERATION OF THE SOLAR FISH DRYER
The solar fish dryer consists of two main parts namely; the concentrator and the drying chamber.
The drying chamber together with the structural frame of the dryer was built from ply woods. An
outlet and inlet vent was provided to facilitate and control the convection flow of air through the
dryer. Access door to the drying chamber was also provided at the side of the cabinet for loading
fish to be dried. This consists of a removable wooden panel made of plywood, which overlapped
each other to prevent air leakages when closed. The roof of the dryer is covered with transparent
glass of 4 mm thickness.

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Oluwole et al.: Continental J. Engineering Sciences 11 (1): 28 - 33, 2016

The reflector/concentrator is made up of an assembly of four rectangles and four triangles, piece
of pyramid shape. Placed on the inner surface are removable plane mirrors of similar size, shape
and dimensions. The concentrator function is to increase the amount of solar radiation entering the
chamber.
PRINCIPLE OF OPERATION OF THE SOLAR FISH DRYER
Figure 1, shows photograph of the solar fish dryer. The process of dehydration consists of moisture
removal from the fish by heating, usually in the presence of controlled flow of air. Initially the fish
is washed, prepared and placed in the flat bottom trays that are placed into the dryer. The solar
rays enter the drying chamber through the cover glass. When reaching the solar collector or the
tray surface, they are converted into heat energy raising the temperature of the drying chamber.
The heat energy is transferred to the fish to be dried. The heated fish give out its moisture content
and dries up. Gradually the heated moist air goes up and leaves the drying chamber through the
outlet at the high end of the dryer.
As a result of a natural and conventional process, dry air will enter the drying chamber through the
air inlet that is situated at the lower end of the drying chamber and drives the moisture out of the
drying chamber through the upper vent.

Concentrator
(Reflector)
Outlet
Vent
Drying
chamber
Inlet
Vent

Loading
Doors with
handles

Figure 1. Photograph of Solar Fish Dryer

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Oluwole et al.: Continental J. Engineering Sciences 11 (1): 28 - 33, 2016

PERFORMANCE EVALUATION OF SOLAR FISH DRYER


The solar fish dryer shown in Figure 1 was evaluated in the month of March, 2015. To carry out
the performance evaluation, a total of 2.6 kg of fresh fish (Tilapia) was purchased at Maiduguri
fresh fish market. The fish was prepared by degutting, descale, also the fins were removed, washed
thoroughly with tap water to remove slime and blood. The fish were transferred into a basket for
proper draining of water and weighed using weighting balance prior to oven dry. Four set-ups of
solar oven were used A- oven without reflector with air vent closed; B- oven without reflector with
air vent opened; C- oven with reflector with air vent closed and D- oven with reflector with air
vent opened. The solar oven was set-up in an open space and placed south facing at about 6:30 am
(Yaldyz and Ertekyn, 2001). The fish to be dried was arranged in the trays and placed in the drying
chamber of the dryer at 7:00 am and the three doors closed.
The mass of fish and temperatures at the collector inlet, collector outlet, drying chamber and
ambient temperature were measured using measuring scale and industrial thermometer
respectively at an interval of 60 minutes, between the hours of 8:00 am and 4:00 pm local time and
recorded. Figure 2 shows the dried fish in the solar fish dryer.

Figure 2. Dried fish in the Dryer

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Oluwole et al.: Continental J. Engineering Sciences 11 (1): 28 - 33, 2016

The percentage of moisture removal and drying rate were calculated as follows:
%

100%

Where
R = Rate of drying, kg/hr
= initial mass of fish, kg
= final mass of fish after drying, kg
T = Drying Time, hrs

Percentage of Moisture Removal (%)

RESULTS AND DISCUSSION


Figure 3 shows the results of moisture removal. It is observed from this Figure that the use of
concentrator (reflector) accelerates the moisture removal; the closure of the vents also increases
the rate of moisture removal. This is because the use of concentrator (reflector) and the closure of
vents increased the inner temperature of the oven. This is similar to the findings of Komolafe et
al., (2011). However, at about 12:00 noon the rate at which this moisture is being removed reduced,
this is probably because the outer surface of the fish is dried (case hardened) and reduces the rate
of moisture removal. It is also observed from this figure that oven without concentrator (reflector)
and opened vents allowed continuous moisture removal. It is obvious from Table 1 that oven with
concentrator (reflector) and vent closed absorbed and retained the highest heat energy compared
to ovens without concentrator (reflector).

Oven without reflector and


vent opened
Oven without reflector and
vent closed
Oven with reflector and vent
opened
Oven with reflector and vent
closed

Time (hrs)

Figure 3. Percentage Moisture Removal Against Time

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Oluwole et al.: Continental J. Engineering Sciences 11 (1): 28 - 33, 2016

CONCLUSION
From the results obtained in this study, it could be concluded that the solar fish dryer is very
effective for fish drying.
Based on the results obtained and the conclusion drawn from the study, it is recommended that for
effective drying, the reflector be placed on the oven between the hour of 8:00 to 11:30 am thereafter
the reflector be removed to avoid case hardening of the fish to be dried.
REFERENCES
Ayyappan, S. and Diwan, A.D. (2003). Fish for Food Security: An Opportunity. Indian Farming
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Clucas, I.J. (1975). Fish Spoilage and General Introduction to Preservation. Food and Agricultural
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Clucas, I.J. (1982). Fish Handling, Preservation and Processing in the Tropics: Part 2. Report of
Tropical Product Institute, G145, Vii +144. Tropical Institute: London, UK. 3-9.
Joshua, R. and Vasu, V. (2012). Dry Fish Processing with Solar Dryers: An Environment-Friendly
Alternative. The IUP Journal of Environmental Sciences, 6: (1), 57-66.
Komolafe, C. A., Ogunleye, I. O. and Adejumo, A. O. D. (2011). Design and Fabrication of a
Convective Fish Dryer. The Pacific Journal of Science and Technology. 12. (1): 89 97.
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of Solar Fish Dryer. Global Journal of Engineering and Technology. 1(4):427 -434.
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103 105 Southampton Row, London WciB4HH, UK. 60-64.
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Yaldyz, O. and Ertekyn, C. (2001). Thin layer solar drying of some vegetables. Journal of Drying
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