Modeling and optimization of energy consumption and performance characteristics of a solar assisted fluidized bed dryer


1 Department of Mechanical Engineering, Takestan Branch, Islamic Azad University, Takestan, Iran

2 Department of Mechanization Engineering, Faculty of Agricultural Sciences, University of Guilan, P.O.Box 41635-1314, Rasht, Iran


The major problem regarding conventional rice mills is the use of fixed-bed drying systems, which is accompanied by high energy consumption. In this study, a novel solar-assisted fluidized-bed system for drying paddy grains was used. The system included a solar water heater, an infrared lamp powered by photovoltaic panels, along with a gas water heater, which were used together to provide the required thermal energy. The working factors were drying air temperature (35, 45, and 55 °C), drying air velocity (7, 8, and 9 m/s), and the angle of the desiccant wheel regeneration gate (0, 45, and 90 degrees). The performance characteristics of the drying system were measured in terms of drying rate, total energy consumption, solar fraction and energy efficiency. Several mathematical models were also applied to fit the moisture ratio curves. In order to analyze the results and obtain the optimized working conditions of the drying system, Response Surface Methodology (RSM) based on the Box–Behnken technique was used. In all of the evaluated conditions, the model entitled “Approximation of diffusion” had the best results for fitting the moisture ratio curves with a correlation coefficient value of at least 0.9729. The selected optimum point included drying air velocity of 7 m/s, drying air temperature of 52.77 ºC and regeneration gate angle of 0. Under the mentioned working conditions, the drying time of 75.99 min, the total energy consumption of 0.297 kWh, solar energy fraction of 0.540 and energy efficiency of 47.67% could be obtained with a desirability value of 0.970.

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