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Renewable Energy 101 (2017) 992e1004

Contents lists available at ScienceDirect

Renewable Energy
journal homepage: www.elsevier.com/locate/renene

Thermal analysis and performance evaluation of a solar tunnel


greenhouse dryer for drying peppermint plants
M.M. Morad, M.A. El-Shazly, K.I. Wasfy*, Hend A.M. El-Maghawry
Agricultural Engineering Department, Faculty of Agriculture, Zagazig University, Egypt

a r t i c l e i n f o a b s t r a c t

Article history: Three identical solar tunnel greenhouse dryers under forced convection mode were installed for drying
Received 24 October 2015 peppermint plants. Thermal analysis of the solar tunnel greenhouse peppermint dryer was investigated
Received in revised form based on thermal balance equations in order to predict its performance. Performance of solar greenhouse
31 January 2016
dryer was studied as a function of change in plant conditions, air flow rates and peppermint loads under
Accepted 19 September 2016
two fan operating systems and evaluated in terms of system temperatures, drying rate, drying efficiency,
product quality and drying cost.
The obtained data revealed that drying peppermint as leaves reduce the drying time and achieve the
Keywords:
Solar tunnel greenhouse dryer
highest percent of volatile oil compared with drying whole plants. Drying peppermint at flow rate of
Drying peppermint plants 2.10 m3/min, load the greenhouse by about 4 kg/m2 and operate the greenhouse by continuously fan
Fan operating systems operating system tends to increase the drying rate by 22.78% and 24.8% for whole plants and leaves
Thermal analysis comparing with periodical system.
Drying efficiency © 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Drying costs

1. Introduction wavelength thermal radiation to create a favorable micro-climate


for higher productivity. A greenhouse heating system is used to
Peppermint (Mentha pepperita L.) is one of the most important increase the thermal energy storage inside the greenhouse dur-
medicinal and aromatic plants because it has a wide range of in- ing the day or to transfer excess heat from inside the greenhouse
dustrial uses and widely accepted by the public for its flavoring and to the heat storage area. This heat is recovered at night to satisfy
pharmaceutical properties. Main properties of peppermint are the heating needs of the solar tunnel greenhouse dryer. Thus, the
antiseptic, antispasmodic, carminative, cephalic, simulative and temperature inside the dryer will be increasing steadily, thereby
stomachic. It mainly consumed as a fresh or in many forms (liquid, ensuring quicker drying of the products than the open sun drying
aromatic oil and dried). The aromatic oil of peppermint contains method. Mint drying at trays dryer with air ambient was studied.
many components which are used in manufacturing of pharma- Air heated up for 40, 50, 60, 70 and 80  C, being evaluated the
ceuticals. Mint has highly water content of 78e84%, w/w, so drying production of the extracted essential oils after the drying with
process plays an important role in inhibition the microorganism the production obtained for the fresh plant. With base in the
growth and make substantial reduction in weight, volume, mini- obtained results, it can be concluded that the largest extractive
mizing packaging, storage and costs [1]. The cultivated area with productions were obtained when the drying process was
peppermint plants in Egypt amounted to be about 334.74 ha and happened with 50  C for the air temperature [3]. A new low cost
the total value of peppermint plants production in Egypt is design for a forced convection tunnel greenhouse drier has been
16260 Mg [2]. built, tested and red sweet pepper and garlic were used as loads.
A greenhouse is essentially an enclosed structure, which traps Results indicated that a good drying rate, final moisture content
the short wavelength solar radiation and stores the long and dried product aspect were obtained. Not observing appre-
ciable deteriorations in the final color of the dried products [4].
Thin layer organic tomatoes were dried to the final moisture
* Corresponding author. Tel.: þ20 1119900982; fax: þ20 552267567. content of 11.50 from 93.35% w.b. in four days of drying in the
E-mail addresses: drmorad555@yahoo.com (M.M. Morad), shazly_mah@yahoo. solar tunnel dryer as compared to five days of drying in the open
com (M.A. El-Shazly), kamal.moursy@gmail.com (K.I. Wasfy), hendelmaghawry@ sun drying. Drying curves showed only a falling drying rate
yahoo.com (H.A.M. El-Maghawry).

http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.renene.2016.09.042
0960-1481/© 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
M.M. Morad et al. / Renewable Energy 101 (2017) 992e1004 993

Nomenclature Mi initial moisture content of drying load, % w.b


Mt moisture content (kg water/kg dry matter) at time (t)
A cross sectional area of the tunnel greenhouse window, Mtþdt moisture content (kg water/kg dry matter) at time
m2 (t þ dt)
Acc surface area of the polyethylene covers, m2 mw mass of water evaporated from the peppermint during
Ad net surface area of the drying box, m2 the dehydration process, kg
CP specific heat of the air, J/kg  C P productivity, kg/h
Cpp specific heat of peppermint, kJ/kg  C R total flux solar radiation, W/m2
HC hourly cost, L.E./h Tai air temperature inside the greenhouse, C
L.E. Egyptian pound, EGP (currency of Egypt) Tp bulk temperature of the peppermint, C
Lh latent heat of vaporization of water in peppermint, kJ/ Tao ambient air temperature outside the greenhouse, C
kg U0 overall heat transfer coefficient, W/m2  C
ma air flow rate, kg/s V air velocity, m/s
Mf final moisture content of drying load, % w.b r air density, kg/m3
mi mass of peppermint in the dryer, kg

period, samples dried in the solar tunnel dryer were completely panel. The contact dryer was operated with one of four drying
protected from insects, rain and dusts, and the dried samples programs. All programs affected the completion duration of
were of high quality in terms of color and hygienic. This system drying, essential oil content, and dried product color differently.
can be used for drying various agricultural products. Also, it is The shortest drying time (15 h) was obtained using the drying
simple in construction and can be constructed at a low cost with program of gradually increased water temperature from 55 to 60
locally obtainable materials [5]. In order to study the drying of to 75e80  C in 6 h and mixing/aeration. However, mixing and
red pepper in open sun and greenhouse conditions drying ex- aeration changed the product color slightly more and partially
periments at constant laboratory conditions and at varying out- increased essential oil loss. These drawbacks can be alleviated
door conditions were carried out. It was found that the by selecting the appropriate duration of mixing and aeration
laboratory model overestimates the drying process under time [10]. Two identical prototype solar dryers (direct and indirect)
varying conditions; a correction factor was then introduced in having the same dimensions were used to dry whole mint.
the formulation of the model to adjust these predictions. The Both prototypes were operated under natural and forced con-
results also have confirmed the consistency of the model at vection modes. The results indicated that drying of mint under
laboratory under constant conditions and in open sun and different operating conditions occurred in the falling rate period,
greenhouse conditions [6]. Drying characteristics of sweet basil where no constant rate period of drying was observed. Also,
leaves were studied and investigated under different drying the obtained data revealed that the drying rate of mint under
conditions. Three different drying air relative humidity (34.0, forced convection was higher than that of mint under natural
27.3 and 22.4%) and three different drying air velocity (1.1, 1.5 and convection [11].
2.0 m/s) were functioned during this laboratory experiment. The It is noticed that renewable energy in food industry particularly
obtained data showed that, the drying rate increased as the air in drying process is growing and mainly in developing countries.
speed increased, although the effect is not as pronounced when Optimization and design tend to reduce the drying time of prod-
the air speed increased from 1.1 to 2.0 m/s [7]. A natural con- ucts for maximum possible efficiency with minimum cost [12]. To
vection solar tunnel greenhouse dryer was designed and devel- overcome the practical difficulties of open sun drying, three
oped for studying the drying characteristics of tomatoes. The identical solar tunnel greenhouse dryers under forced convection
performance of the dryer was studied (drying time and product mode were constructed which basically operates on the principle
quality) in comparison with open sun drying method. It was of green house effect, for drying peppermint whole plants and
found that the solar tunnel greenhouse dryer took only 29 h for leaves depending on thermal analysis. Various operational pa-
reducing the moisture content of tomatoes from 90% (w.b.) to 9% rameters such as plant conditions, peppermint loads, air flow rates
(w.b.) whereas the open sun drying took 74 h for the same. Also,
the quality of dried tomatoes produced from solar tunnel dryer is
much superior compared to that of open sun drying [8]. The Table 1
Physical properties of peppermint plants.
drying method, velocity and temperature of drying air influence
the quantity and quality of the active ingredients present in ar- Physical properties Average value
omatic and medicinal plants. In spite of all technical de- Plant height, cm 27.50
velopments, the choice of the correct drying temperature Average leaf area, cm2 4
remains a central economic and ecological criterion in the drying Thickness of peppermint leaves, mm 0.25
Average number of leaves per plant 15:20
of medicinal plants [9]. A contact dryer that transferred energy to
Fresh mass of whole plant, g 5
drying plants mainly by heat conduction was developed and Fresh mass of 100 leaves, g 15
tested by mixing or not mixing batches of 15 kg of chopped Bulk density of fresh leaves, kg/m3 30.15
peppermint plants. The contact dryer had three main operational Moisture content of whole plant, % 84.43
units: a drying table, a mobile mixing/aeration car, and a control Moisture content of leaves, % 83.52
994 M.M. Morad et al. / Renewable Energy 101 (2017) 992e1004

Fig. 1. Solar tunnel greenhouse dryer.

and different conditions of fan operating systems were undertaken


in this study in order to enhance the performance of the intro-
duced solar dryer and improve the quality of the dried
peppermint.
So, the objectives of the present study are to:

 Predict the drying behavior of the solar tunnel greenhouse dryer


by carrying out a theoretical thermal analysis based on thermal
balance equations.

Fig. 2. Arrangement of peppermint plants inside a greenhouse dryer.


Fig. 3. Flowchart of the experimental conditions.
M.M. Morad et al. / Renewable Energy 101 (2017) 992e1004 995

Table 2
Average hourly solar radiation outside (SRout) and inside (SRin) the solar tunnel greenhouse.

Time of day, h 3/7/2013 4/7/2013 5/7/2013 6/7/2013 7/7/2013

S.Rout S.Rin S.Rout S.Rin S.Rout S.Rin S.Rout S.Rin S.Rout S.Rin

8 430.0 331.1 520.1 405.7 463.0 449.1 471.0 457.3 533.1 421.7
9 493.2 384.7 676.6 540.6 552.0 441.6 563.0 451.0 793.2 622.7
10 715.1 564.9 834.1 667.3 791.0 639.9 675.4 540.3 845.6 668.9
11 823.5 650.1 920.8 744.0 1001.4 813.2 851.0 691.0 953.1 763.5
12 898.6 727.8 946.9 768.9 997.9 819.2 997.1 816.7 1002.4 814.0
13 978.5 802.4 966.6 786.8 922.9 746.6 905.7 745.4 945.7 774.5
14 934.3 742.8 780.8 641.0 832.9 659.0 847.1 689.6 798.6 657.2
15 852.1 678.3 664.9 535.9 708.6 561.2 695.7 675.5 709.3 585.2
16 627.6 497.0 511.9 420.2 445.0 351.1 607.1 479.0 468.6 383.8
17 487.4 399.2 492.7 400.6 276.4 220.9 372.0 290.5 302.4 232.9
18 282.9 223.5 398.5 386.5 192.0 145.9 251.0 195.5 265.4 207.3

Mean 683.9 545.6 665.0 523.8 653.0 531.6 657.8 548.3 692.5 500.8

 Investigate the performance of the solar greenhouse pepper-


mint dryer under different operational conditions.
 Evaluate the drying process of the solar greenhouse dryer from
the economic point of view.

2. Materials and method

Experiments were carried out during the summer season of


2013 at the mechanization center of Meet El-Dyba, Kafr El-Sheikh
Governorate, Egypt, which located at latitude of 31.06 N and
longitude of 30.51 E in order to select the optimum conditions for
drying peppermint in a greenhouse that kept on its product quality
with the least drying time.

2.1. Materials

2.1.1. Peppermint plant description


Peppermint plants (whole plants and leaves) were used in this
study. Some physical properties of peppermint plants which in-
fluence on the behavior of drying process were determined as
shown in Table 1.

2.1.2. Solar tunnel greenhouse dryer


Three identical solar tunnel greenhouse dryers with overall di-
mensions of 2000 mm length, 1000 mm width and 800 mm height,
as shown in Fig. 1, were constructed in order to carry out some
different experiments. The dryer frame was constructed from iron-
galvanized pipes of 12.7 mm and installed on the circumference of
four walls forming a batch. The pipe frames were covered by a clear
plastic film 200 mm thick, a black plastic wire net was used as a solar
absorber covering the surface of the drying chamber in order to
increase the collection efficiency of solar radiation. The peppermint
leaves and whole plants were put in the range of between 6 and
10 cm thickness according to the different peppermint loads on a
wire net, which installed at the bottom of the batch inside a
greenhouse as shown in Fig. 2. Suction air fan was fixed (forced
convection mode) and driven by electric motor of 0.5 hp (0.37 kW)
at 3000 rpm. Fan was connected to a digital thermostat that
adjusted to operate the fan when the inside air temperature
approach to be 50  C in a periodical fan operating system in order to
obtain the highest essential oil content [13]. The air flow rate was
controlled by hand valve. The side of greenhouse has an open
window for air inlet of 350  100 mm and a front door of
Fig. 4. Effect of air flow rate on system temperatures under continuously fan operating
700  450 mm is located for loading and collecting samples of system and peppermint load of 2 kg/m2.
peppermint.
996 M.M. Morad et al. / Renewable Energy 101 (2017) 992e1004

Fig. 5. Effect of peppermint load on system temperatures under continuously fan operating system and air flow rate of 2.10 m3/min.

2.2. Thermal analysis of solar tunnel greenhouse dryer The useful heat gain by a dryer during the drying process can be
expressed as:
Solar dryer receives the solar radiation and convert it into useful
heat to evaporate moisture from the agricultural products. Theo-
retical simulation analysis was used to predict the thermal per- Qc ¼ ma $Cp $ðTai  Ta0 Þ (3)
formance of drying peppermint in a greenhouse.
Heat energy balance is applied on the solar tunnel greenhouse
dryer during the experiments according to literature [14e16] in ma ¼ V$A$r (4)
order to predict the thermal performance of drying in a greenhouse
and it can be computed as follows: The total thermal energy (Qev) includes the following parame-
ters; sensible heat which used to raise the temperature of
Q ¼ Qc þ Qev þ Qloss (1) peppermint (qsensible) and latent heat energy which used to
vaporize the water in peppermint (qlatent), can be calculated as
The available solar energy inside the solar tunnel greenhouse follow:
dryer (Q) could be calculated in terms of the solar radiation that
penetrated the cover and the net surface area of the dryer as:
Qev ¼ qlatent þ qsensible (5)
Q ¼ R$Ad (2)
M.M. Morad et al. / Renewable Energy 101 (2017) 992e1004 997

  2.3.1. Experimental conditions


L $mw þ mi $Cpp Tai  Tp The performance of the tunnel greenhouse for peppermint
Qev ¼ h (6)
3:6 drying was studied under the following variables as shown in Fig. 3:

  1 Two different plant conditions (whole plants and leaves).


mi Mi  Mf 2 Three different peppermint loads (2, 4 and 6 kg/m2).
mw ¼   (7)
100  Mf 3 Three different air flow rates (1.05, 2.10 and 3.15 m3/min)
4 Two different fan operating systems (continuous and
The thermal losses from the inside solar dryers into the outside periodical).
can be computed as follows:
Preliminary experiments were conducted on a wide range of
Qloss ¼ U0 $Acc $ðTai  Ta0 Þ (8) both air flow rate levels and peppermint loads until reaching to
their selected values which are suitable to the installed solar tunnel
Depending on all the previous mentioned thermal analysis, the greenhouse dryer.
daily drying efficiency (hd) can be calculated as the ratio of required
energy to evaporate the moisture from the peppermint to the solar
radiation flux incident and received over the surface area of the
drying box as follows: 2.3.2. Measurements and determinations
Performance evaluation of the peppermint drying in the solar
 
Qev tunnel greenhouse was carried out taking into consideration the
hd ¼ $100 (9) following indicators and measurements:
R$Ad

 Solar radiation

The solar radiation was measured by connecting pyranometer


2.3. Methods sensor model H-201 with an accuracy of 0.001 W/m2 to a chart
recorder model YEW 3057 in order to convert the voltage signal to
Experiments of peppermint drying were carried out during the an equivalent reading in kW h/m2. The solar radiation of the
summer season of 2013 from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. in order to study the experimental period was determined as shown in Table 2.
different operational parameters affecting the peppermint drying
behavior through tunnel greenhouse.  Temperature and relative humidity

Fig. 6. Effect of different fan operating systems on system temperatures at air flow rate of 2.10 m3/min and peppermint load of 2 kg/m2.
998 M.M. Morad et al. / Renewable Energy 101 (2017) 992e1004

 Air velocity

The inlet air velocity was measured by anemometer model no.


37000e00, cole pormer instrument company, Vernon Hill, Illinois
60061e1844, made in USA with an accuracy of 0.01 m/s.

 Drying rate

ðMtþdt  Mt Þ
Drying rate ¼ (10)
ðdtÞ

 Product quality (Volatile oil percentage)

The percentage of volatile oil of the dried samples was carried


out at Horticulture Research Institute e Agricultural Research
Center and was determined using a Clevenger - type apparatus [17].

 Statistical analysis

Data of volatile oil were subjected to statistical analysis ac-


cording to [18]. Means separation was done by L.S.D. at 0.01 level of
probability.

 Cost of drying

The hourly cost of drying in a greenhouse dryer was calculated


as fixed and variables costs.
The required operational cost for drying peppermint (L.E./kg)
can be determined using the following formula:

HC
Operational cost per unit of production ¼ (11)
P

3. Results and discussion

The discussion will cover the obtained results under the


following heads:

3.1. Effect of some different parameters on system temperatures

Representative system temperatures (plant temperature, inter-


nal and external temperatures of solar greenhouse added to
ambient temperature) versus day hours are given in Figs. 4e6. The
obtained data of the effect of air flow rates of 1.05, 2.10 and 3.15 m3/
min on system temperatures at continuously fan operating system
and peppermint load of 2 kg/m2 (Fig. 4) showed that increasing the
air flow rate, decreased the temperature inside the greenhouse.
This is may be due to insufficient time for the air to be heated inside
the solar tunnel, which in turn affects the bulk temperature of both
Fig. 7. Effect of air flow rate on drying rate under continuously fan operating system whole plants and leaves; this result is in an agreement with find-
and peppermint load of 2 kg/m2. ings of [11]. At an average ambient air temperature of 33.57  C
throughout the experimental day, as the air passes through the
dryers, the average dryer temperatures were increased to be 46.41,
44.40 and 42.08  C at air flow rates of 1.05, 2.10 and 3.15 m3/min, in
that order. Rate of evaporation is directly proportional to the active
Temperatures were determined to the ambient, dryer and plant
surface area so that leaves lose moisture faster than the whole
temperature (whole plant and leaves). Thermocouples (type T with
plant, thus the bulk temperature of leaves was reduced comparing
accuracy of 0.1  C) were fixed at different locations of the dryer to
with bulk temperature of whole plant. At air flow rate of 2.10 m3/
measure the crop temperatures. Digital temperature and humidity
min, the bulk temperatures of whole plant and leaves were 39.72
meter, model Chino (HN-K) was used to measure the air temper-
and 38.62  C, respectively.
atures (with accuracy of 0.1  C) and relative humidity (with accu-
With regard to the variation of temperatures with relation to
racy of 0.1%) inside and outside the greenhouse.
different peppermint loads of 2, 4 and 6 kg/m2 under air flow rate of
M.M. Morad et al. / Renewable Energy 101 (2017) 992e1004 999

Fig. 8. Effect of peppermint load on drying rate under continuously fan operating system and air flow rate of 2.10 m3/min.

2.10 m3/min, results showed that increasing the peppermint load in (operate when the temperatures inside the greenhouse reach 50  C,
a greenhouse, the temperature was decreased. The dryer temper- according to [3]) was higher than the other system. When the fan is
atures were 43.88, 42.60 and 41.48  C at an average ambient tem- working periodically led to raising the temperature inside the dryer
perature of 32.20  C and previously different loads, respectively. collector that in turn affects the bulk temperature of both whole
This is due to increasing the evaporation from the plant with plants and leaves. The bulk temperature of whole plant and leaves
increasing load leading to decreasing the dryer temperature and were (40.82  C and 39.57  C) and (42.88  C and 41.62  C) in
bulk temperature of whole plants and leaves. Drying peppermint of continuous and periodical systems, respectively.
2 kg/m2 either whole plants or leaves consumed one day for drying,
while 4 or 6 kg/m2 consumed two days for drying (Fig. 5). The 3.2. Effect of some different parameters on drying rate
measured temperature at the first stage of drying in second day (8
a.m.) was found in an increment compared to the final reached Figs. 7e9 showed the influence of different parameters on
temperature in the first drying day (6 p.m.). This is may be due to drying rate. The drying rate was decreased continuously with
increase the thermal energy storage inside the greenhouse during drying time. It is obviously that there was not any constant-rate
the day or to transfer excess heat from inside the greenhouse to the drying period and all the drying operations are seen to occur in
heat storage area and thus, the temperature inside the dryer will be the falling rate period, this result is in an agreement with [11].
increased according to [4]. It is obvious that the bulk temperature of Concerning the effect of different air flow rates on drying rate at
leaves was less than whole plant. The daily average bulk temper- 2 kg/m2 loading and continues fan operating system (Fig. 7), results
atures of whole plants and leaves were 40.22  C and 39.47  C at the showed that the drying rate is a strong function of air flow rate and
greenhouse that loaded with 2 kg/m2. time. It is high at the first hour of continuous drying for all tem-
With respect to the effect of fan operating systems, the obtained peratures and decreases with time. This is a result of low internal
data illustrated in Fig. 6 clarified that the air temperatures in the resistance of moisture at the beginning of drying; therefore when
greenhouse that work with periodical fan operating system energy is impacted, moisture can easily move to surface, where
1000 M.M. Morad et al. / Renewable Energy 101 (2017) 992e1004

Fig. 9. Effect of different fan operating systems on drying rate at air flow rate of 2.10 m3/min and peppermint load of 2 kg/m2.

evaporated, this result is a compatible with [19]. As the drying showed that the drying rate was increased by 22.45% for whole
progressed, more energy was required to break the molecular bond plants and 24% for leaves with continuous fan operating system
of the moisture and since constant energy was supplied, it took compared with periodical system. That is because operating the fan
longer time to break, therefore drying rate decreased. Data continuously helps to remove moisture from plants to be in a safe
explained that increasing air flow rate; the average drying rate was limit faster than periodically resulting in acceleration of the drying
increased up to 2.10 m3/min and then decreased. The average drying rate.
rates of leaves was 0.62, 0.70 and 0.57 kg/h under air flow rates of
1.05, 2.10 and 3.15 m3/min, respectively and loading of 2 kg/m2. It is
apparent that the drying rate of peppermint leaves was higher than 3.3. Effect of some different parameters on drying efficiency
whole plants; this is may be due to that the projected area of leaves
facing the forced air was higher than the projected area of the whole Effect of some different parameters on the drying efficiency was
plant, resulting in high drying rate for the leaves. At 2.10 m3/min air showed in Fig. 10.
flow rate, the drying rate of leaves and whole plant were 0.70 and Concerning the effect of air flow rate on daily drying efficiency
0.69, respectively. Whole plants consumed more time for drying under 2 kg/m2, results showed that the highest daily drying effi-
than leaves, this is consistent with [20] who found that the required ciency was obtained at air flow rate of 2.10 m3/min. The values of
drying time increases with increasing surface load and small size drying efficiency were 19.38, 20.63 and 19.05% for leaves; while for
herbs without stem need low drying time. whole plants were 18.89, 19.34 and 18.41% at air flow rates of 1.05,
Relating to the effect of different loads on the drying rate at 2.10 and 3.15 m3/min, respectively. The decrease in an average
2.10 m3/min air flow rate (Fig. 8), the curves showed only a falling available solar energy inside the solar tunnel greenhouse dryer that
drying rate period. Shortens of constant rate period associated with loading with leaves was higher than the decrease in total thermal
low surface area load to area shrinkage, which caused the drying energy (Qev), thus the daily average efficiency of leaves was higher
rate to decrease continuously [20]. The drying rate was decreased than whole plants.
by increasing the peppermint loads. It was 0.49, 0.30 and 0.29 kg/h In respect to the effects of peppermint loads on the drying ef-
for whole plants and 0.53, 0.34 and 0.32 kg/h for leaves under loads ficiency at air flow rate of 2.10 m3/min, results clarified that the
of 2, 4 and 6 kg/m2, in that order. daily drying efficiency of different crop loads was affected by the
Regarding the effect of fan operating systems on drying rate at mass of peppermint in dryer, initial and final moisture content and
air flow rate of 2.10 m3/min and loading of 2 kg/m2 (Fig. 9). Results ambient conditions (solar radiation intensity and temperature). The
daily average total heat energy utilized in drying process of
M.M. Morad et al. / Renewable Energy 101 (2017) 992e1004 1001

Fig. 10. Effect of air flow rate, peppermint load and fan operating system on drying efficiency.

peppermint leaves during the experimental period were 2.14, 2.54 Concerning the effect of fan operating systems, it was noted that
and 3.30 kW h at different loads of 2, 4 and 6 kg/m2, respectively. the daily drying efficiency of continuous system was higher than
The average daily drying efficiency were 18.25, 20.18 and 28.44% for that of periodical system, where the continuous system increased
whole plants and 18.73, 22.33 and 28.94% for leaves under previous the drying efficiency by 7.46% and 10.64% for whole plants and
loads, respectively. leaves comparing with periodical system because the plants in the

Table 3
Effect of air flow rate on volatile oil percentage of peppermint under continuously fan operating system.

Replicates Air flow rate, m3/min

1.05 2.10 3.15

Whole plant Leaves Whole plant Leaves Whole plant Leaves

R1 0.83 1.35 0.92 1.52 0.91 1.49


R2 0.82 1.34 0.92 1.53 0.89 1.51
R3 0.79 1.35 0.93 1.51 0.90 1.51

Mean 0.81 1.34 0.92 1.52 0.90 1.50

L.S.D. at 1% Air flow rate (A) ¼ 0.00176 (S)


Air flow rate (A)  Plant condition (p) ¼ 0.00249 (S)

At peppermint load of 2 kg/m2.


1002 M.M. Morad et al. / Renewable Energy 101 (2017) 992e1004

periodical system took more time to be in a safe limit of moisture Table 5


content. Thus, the amount of solar energy intakes in periodical solar Effect of fan operating systems on volatile oil percentage of peppermint.

dryer a large amount leading to a lack of thermal efficiency of this Replicates Fan operating system
system compared with the other system. Continuous Periodical

Whole plant Leaves Whole plant Leaves


3.4. Effect of some different parameters on product quality
R1 0.83 1.53 0.76 1.32
R2 0.84 1.52 0.79 1.34
The volatile oil percentage in whole plants and leaves under R3 0.84 1.52 0.77 1.34
different parameters as shown in Tables 3e5 was determined as an
Mean 0.83 1.52 0.77 1.33
indicator for the quality of the product.
With regard to the effect of air flow rate on volatile per- L.S.D. at 1% Operating system (O)  Plant conditions (p) ¼ 0.002740 (S)
centage under loading of 2 kg/m2 (Table 3), the results revealed At air flow rate of 2.10 m3/min and peppermint load of 2 kg/m2.
that the highest percentage of volatile oil was recorded at air
flow rate of 2.10 m3/min, it was 0.92% for whole plants and
1.52% for leaves. While, the lowest percentage was found to be
0.81% for whole plants and 1.34% for leaves at air flow rate of and continuously fan operating system on the drying costs, data
1.05 m3/min. It was found that the leaves had the highest clarified that the minimum operational cost values were 5.39 and
percent of volatile oil compared with whole plants. The effects 4.35 L E/kg for whole plants and leaves, respectively under air flow
of the air flow rates and plant conditions on volatile oil content rate of 2.10 m3/min. This is may be due to the highest productivity
were high significant. obtained under air flow rate of 2.10 m3/min compared with other
Respecting to the effect of different loads on volatile oil per- flow rates.
centage under air flow rate of 2.10 m3/min (Table 4), the statistical From obtained results, increasing the peppermint loads, the
analysis showed high significant differences in volatile oil per- operational cost was decreased. By increasing the product mass,
centage under different loads. The volatile oil content was 0.84, 0.76 the productivity increased and thus, the operational cost
and 0.63% for whole plants, while it was 1.54, 1.49 and 1.37% for decreased. The operational costs for drying whole plants were
leaves under 2, 4 and 6 kg/m2, respectively. The highest percentage 4.84, 4.17 and 2.97 L E/kg, while 4.30, 3.61 and 2.60 L E/kg for
of volatile oil was observed at 2 kg/m2. leaves under loads of 2, 4 and 6 kg/m2 and air flow rate of
As to the effect of different operating systems on volatile oil 2.10 m3/min.
content at air flow rate of 2.10 m3/min and 2 kg/m2 loading As for the differences of drying costs under different operating
(Table 5), results showed that effect of plant conditions and systems, results showed that continuous fan operating system
operating systems had a high significant difference in volatile oil gave higher operational costs than periodical system. The fan was
percentage. The highest percentage of volatile oil was obtained not operated continuously in a periodical system and so, the
for leaves under continuous fan operating system. The percent- hourly cost and productivity of periodical were less than contin-
age of volatile oil of whole plants and leaves were 0.83% and uous system, this rate of increase in hourly cost was higher than
1.52% under continuous system, while 0.77 and 1.33% under the rate of increase in productivity of continuous operating
periodical system. compared with the other system. With periodical operating sys-
tem, the operational costs were reduced by 6.95 and 2.07% for
whole plants and leaves, in that order compared with continuous
3.5. Effect of some different parameters on drying cost
fan operating system.
The leaves were separated manually taking into consideration
that the time and cost of separating the leaves from the stems were
estimated in the cost analysis. 4. Conclusion
Fig. 11 showed the effect of air flow rates, peppermint loads and
fan operating systems on the costs of drying process. Experimental results revealed that drying rate, drying efficiency,
The drying cost of peppermint leaves was less than whole plants volatile oil and drying costs were in the optimum region for drying
because of the drying rate of leaves were higher than whole plants. peppermint either whole plants or leaves under the following
Concerning the effect of air flow rate under loading of 2 kg/m2 recommended conditions:

Table 4
Effect of peppermint load on volatile oil percentage of peppermint.

Replicates Peppermint load, kg/m2

2 4 6

Whole plant Leaves Whole plant Leaves Whole plant Leaves

R1 0.85 1.54 0.76 1.49 0.63 1.37


R2 0.83 1.53 0.76 1.51 0.65 1.38
R3 0.83 1.56 0.78 1.47 0.63 1.36

Mean 0.84 1.54 0.76 1.49 0.63 1.37

L.S.D. at 1% Crop load (L) ¼ 0.001142 (S)

At air flow rate of 2.10 m3/min.


M.M. Morad et al. / Renewable Energy 101 (2017) 992e1004 1003

Fig. 11. Effect of air flow rate, peppermint load and fan operating systems on drying cost.

 Drying peppermint at air flow rate of 2.10 m3/min where reduce References
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