The solar dryer by Dr Arslan Afzal

  • 2023-06-29
  • Christina Pfänder
  • Comment
Picking a fresh mango from the tree
© Getty Images/jaminwell

The drying of agricultural products in the sun is practised worldwide, among other things for the preservation of fruits. This however involves farmers being confronted with problems: soil and insects for instance can contaminate the produce. That's the reason that I’ve developed a solar dryer that reduces the moisture content of agricultural products and their contamination with bacteria. The objective is to effectively prevent crop spoilage.

My system consists of a heating unit, a drying surface, a portable stand, fans and a photovoltaic panel that powers the solar dryer via renewable energy. On cloudy days and at night, however, an alternative energy source has to be used for the drying process. The results of our experiments are very promising: the dried products meet the recommended quality standards both in terms of composition as well as total bacteria count and colour. The growers in Pakistan are currently interested in this solution. I hope that they will adopt the design and produce the modified, eco-friendly solar dryers locally themselves in the future.

Alumniportal Deutschland and its Community Challenge gave me the opportunity to present my project to international experts – and the coaching enabled me to improve my own skills. At the same time, the competition has spurred me on to do my best to optimise this application in terms of sustainable agriculture. 

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