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SOLAR HYBRID DRYER FOR DRYING, BIOCHAR, LUMBER, COFFEE, COCOA AND AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTS

Technology #019-017-mazzuchi

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Researchers
Prof. Richard Clive Millar
Prof. Thomas Mazzuchi
Prof. Todd Mlsna
Managed By
Jerry Comanescu
Licensing Associate jcomanescu@gwu.edu (202) 994-8975
Patent Protection

Millar

Provisional Patent Application Filed 62/782,106

Researchers at The George Washington University have developed an innovative solar hybrid dryer for drying biochar, lumber, coffee, cocoa and agricultural products. In particular, the invention relates a kiln for drying wood and wood product, & agricultural products. The new drying technology will significantly decrease amount of time spent on drying and dependence on weather.

Every year, lumber producers spend millions of dollars on energy to heat wood drying kilns. Hybrid kilns would improve fuel efficiency and deliver cost savings, thereby helping the forestry industry cut energy costs. This solar hybrid kiln utilizes a novel solar energy collector previously used to pre-heat air for ventilation and crop drying. A solar air heater is used to  take heat out of the air and to redistribute and recirculate it throughout the kiln, essentially cancelling the need for natural gas or any other source of energy.

The inventors have conceived a system consisting of an array of temperature and humidity sensors strategically positioned throughout the drying system (e.g. at the solar air heater, at the interior space defined by the kiln, and at the space exterior to the hybrid kiln). A controller is provided to receive data signals from the sensors and to send control data signals to the one or more heater fans, the one or more circulation fans and the one or more dehumidifiers. The controller controls the fans and the one or more dehumidifiers based on computer executable instructions or other control means. 

Applications:

·  Drying of biochar, lumber, coffee, cocoa and agricultural products

Advantages:

·  The new method saves considerable amount of time, improves fuel efficiency and delivers costs savings

·  Prevents disruption of the rate of drying based on the variations in the environmental conditions throughout the seasons