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Article

Raising the Drying Unit for Fruits and Vegetables Energy Efficiency by Application of Thermoelectric Heat Pump

Federal Scientific Agroengineering Center VIM, 109428 Moscow, Russia
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Agriculture 2024, 14(6), 922; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture14060922
Submission received: 23 April 2024 / Revised: 7 June 2024 / Accepted: 9 June 2024 / Published: 11 June 2024
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Energy-Powered Agricultural Machinery and Equipment)

Abstract

Drying food stuffs and other materials belongs to one of the most commonly used feedstock processing techniques, featuring rather high energy consumption. The major disadvantage of conventional electric convective-type household dryers is substantial thermal energy emission into the environment with a wet exhaust, worked-out drying agent. Among other principal disadvantages common to all dryers of this type, the following have to be mentioned: spatial inhomogeneity of heating a product under processing and that of drying agent distribution due to its temperature reduction and relative humidity growth as it moves upwards. A block diagram and a breadboard model of a convective-type thermoelectric dryer employing a thermoelectric heat pump have been designed. In our approach, a product is treated with the help of a drying agent (normally, heated air) with partial exhaust-air recirculation and heat recovery. Laboratory studies of the drying process have been carried out using apple fruits as a test material in order to evaluate the power consumed for evaporation of 1 kg of water in the newly developed convective-type thermoelectric drying unit. Physical parameters of apple fruits before and after drying both in the thermoelectric drying unit and in a conventional series-produced convective-type domestic dryer have been reported. The energy efficiency of the newly designed drying unit has been compared with that of some series-produced samples. It has been found out that, unlike conventional convective-type dryers, the breadboard model of the developed thermoelectric drying unit features a smoother product drying process owing to the presence of side air channels and more effective drying agent path organization in the processing chamber. This conclusion was supported by the results of the carried out tests. Application of thermoelectric heat pumps with the function of the exhaust drying agent heat recovery will make it possible to reduce the drying agent heater installed capacity and the power consumed by the newly designed convective-type thermoelectric drying unit by up to 20% in the course of the drying process, compared to series-produced household convective-type dryers.
Keywords: convective-type drying; thermoelectric heat pump; thermoelectric Peltier unit; drying food stuffs; heat energy recuperation; air recirculation; energy saving convective-type drying; thermoelectric heat pump; thermoelectric Peltier unit; drying food stuffs; heat energy recuperation; air recirculation; energy saving

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MDPI and ACS Style

Tikhomirov, D.; Khimenko, A.; Kuzmichev, A.; Budnikov, D.; Bolshev, V. Raising the Drying Unit for Fruits and Vegetables Energy Efficiency by Application of Thermoelectric Heat Pump. Agriculture 2024, 14, 922. https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture14060922

AMA Style

Tikhomirov D, Khimenko A, Kuzmichev A, Budnikov D, Bolshev V. Raising the Drying Unit for Fruits and Vegetables Energy Efficiency by Application of Thermoelectric Heat Pump. Agriculture. 2024; 14(6):922. https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture14060922

Chicago/Turabian Style

Tikhomirov, Dmitry, Aleksei Khimenko, Aleksey Kuzmichev, Dmitry Budnikov, and Vadim Bolshev. 2024. "Raising the Drying Unit for Fruits and Vegetables Energy Efficiency by Application of Thermoelectric Heat Pump" Agriculture 14, no. 6: 922. https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture14060922

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