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Building a Chimney Solar Dryer


Researchers at UC Davis designed a solar
dryer for small-scale farming systems around the world.
The chimney solar dryer dries fruits and vegetables twice as fast as traditional
solar dryers by combining a table where heat from the sun can collect with the
chimney that creates continuous air flow around the produce. This video explains
the basics of how to build the chimney solar dryer and is the first of three
videos about the dryer. More information is available in the manual on our
website. The chimney solar dryer can be built
with materials easily available in local markets. In this video we are using wood
clear plastic black plastic food grade mesh and basic carpentry supplies. The
dryer is built in four main parts. A drying table covered in black plastic or
black fabric a chimney covered with clear plastic drying tray is made with
plastic mesh or metal screen a plastic cover made of clear polyethylene. We are
going to show you how to build a solar chimney dryer but for more comprehensive
instructions you can download a manual from our website. The exact size of this
design can be adjusted but in this video we are building a dryer that is 60
centimeters wide four meters long and has a chimney that rises two meters
above the table. We start by building a sturdy table including slats across the
top for additional support. Then stretch black material over the top
and sides of the frame securing with staples. Next build a similar frame for
the chimney. The chimney must be the same width as the table in this case 60
centimeters wide. Cover the whole chimney with clear plastic except for the
opening at the top. Now build trays that will hold fruits and vegetables to dry. Cut food grade mesh screen into 60 centimeter squares then attach two
pieces of wood under the mesh opposite each other. Secure two more pieces of
wood on top of the mesh on the two remaining sides screw the wood corners
together and secure mesh to wood with staples. Finally put the pieces together
join the chimney to the table by screwing in two vertical boards. You may
want to anchor the chimney to the ground with stakes. Place five trays on the
table then build shelves on both ends of the table to hold a pole. Carefully cut
an opening in the chimney plastic so that air will flow above the table and
under the shelf and plastic cover. Drape the clear plastic cover over the table
and shelf tucking the clear plastic tightly against the chimney to ensure
air is flowing through the dryer. Use polls to help hold the plastic tight
around the table. For more details on how to build this
low-cost solar dryer check out the UC Davis chimney solar dryer manual on the
horticultural Innovation Lab website

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