M. Moradi; J. Ghasemi; H. Azimi-Nejadian

#####
**Abstract **

IntroductionSome unit operations of food process engineering such as drying consumes a high amount of energy. Therefore, analysis of energy and exergy can be a suitable method to manage the energy consumption of the drying. Hence, in the present research, analysis of energy and exergy for the drying ...
Read More
IntroductionSome unit operations of food process engineering such as drying consumes a high amount of energy. Therefore, analysis of energy and exergy can be a suitable method to manage the energy consumption of the drying. Hence, in the present research, analysis of energy and exergy for the drying process of lemon verbena leaves was performed.Materials and MethodsA cabinet solar dryer was employed to investigate the energy consumption of thin layer drying of lemon verbena leaves. The dryer had a galvanized solar plate collector which had a surface area of 0.75 m2 and to absorb the maximum solar energy, the collector painted with the black color. The collector was set at an angle of 45 degrees relative to the horizon and an electric blower was installed in the bottom of the collector to blow the ambient air through the solar collector and hence, hot air entered the drying chamber to dry the lemon verbena leaves. In order to record the air temperature and humidity in different locations of the dryer, an Arduino board with 8 smart sensors (AM2301, with temperature accuracy of 0.5°C and humidity accuracy of 3%) were used. To obtain the initial moisture content of the leaves, they inserted in an electrical oven for 16 hours at a temperature of 70°C. In order to measure the moisture content of the leaves during drying, they weighted at different times using a digital balance (A & D, Japan with accuracy of 0.001 g).Energy consumption rate of the drying was calculated by Equation (1):Where, Ein: energy consumption rate (kW), : mass flow rate of drying air (kg s-1), cp: specific heat of drying air (kJ kg-1 °C-1), Δt: temperature difference between the ambient air and drying air (°C).Also, the specific energy consumption of drying (SEC) was calculated by Equation (2):Where; SEC: Specific energy consumption (MJ kg-1 of removed water) t: drying time (s), and M: mass of removed water from the drying material (kg).Also, useful power can be calculated from Equation (3):Where; Eout: useful power (kW), ms: Evaporation rate (kg s-1), lg: latent heat of vaporization (kJ kg-1 of water)In order to calculate energy efficiency, Equation (4) was used: Also inlet and outlet exergy were calculated by equations (5) and (6), respectively: Where; T1: Inlet air temperature into the drying chamber (°C), T2: Outlet air temperature from the drying chamber (°C), T0: Ambient air temperature (°C).Also, Equations (7) and (8) were used to calculate exergy efficiency and loss, respectively:Results and DiscussionThe results of energy analysis showed specific energy consumption (SEC) increased with increasing of drying temperature and decreasing of air velocity. Accordingly, in the air velocity of 2 m s-1 and the temperatures of 30, 40, and 50 ˚C, SEC were 276.3, 694.7, and 708.0 MJ kg-1 of removed water, respectively. While SEC for an air velocity of 2.5 m s-1 and air temperatures of 30, 40, and 50 ˚C were 266.9, 469.8, and 638.0 MJ kg-1 of removed water, respectively, the corresponded values for air velocity of 3 m s-1 were as 217.0, 391.3, and 501.8 MJ kg-1 of removed water, respectively. Also, the results revealed that with an increase of temperature and a reduction of velocity, energy efficiency reduced, so that the maximum value of energy efficiency observed in an experiment with temperature of 30˚C and velocity of 3 m s-1. Also, the highest value of exergy efficiency obtained in temperature of 50˚C and velocity of 3 m s-1.ConclusionA hot air solar dryer was used for drying lemon verbena leaves. Results of specific energy consumption of drying showed a high amount of fossil fuels can be saved by using this dryer. Also, from the aspect of energy and exergy efficiency, using of the dryer in the lower temperature and higher air velocity is recommended.