A new hybrid solar dryer was designed and constructed in this study, which consisted of a flat-plate solar collector with dual-function (DF-FPSC), drying chamber with glass, fan etc. The DF-FPSC was firstly applied in drying agricultural products. The innovative application of hybrid solar dryer can control the drying chamber air temperature within a suitable range by different operation strategies. Drying experiments for lemon slices in the hybrid solar dryer were conducted by comparing open sun drying (OSD). Eight mathematical models of drying characteristics were employed to select the most suitable model for describing the drying curves of lemon slices. Furthermore, energy, exergy economic and environment (4E) analysis were also adopted to analyze the drying process of lemon slices. The results show that under the same experimental condition, the drying capability of the hybrid solar dryer was stronger than that of OSD. Meanwhile, it was found that the Two term and Wang and Singh models were the most suitable for fitting the lemon slices’ drying characteristics inside the hybrid solar dryer. The drying chamber air temperature can be controlled under about 60 °C during the process of lemon slices’ drying. The experimental results show the feasibility and validity of the proposed hybrid solar dryer.
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