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Optimization of energy efficiency in a batch grain dryer

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan

Citation:  Paper number  131595654,  2013 Kansas City, Missouri, July 21 - July 24, 2013. (doi: @2013
Authors:   H. Tapani Jokiniemi, Jukka M. Ahokas
Keywords:   Grain drying energy efficiency drying temperature process control grain quality.

Abstract. Rising energy prices and decreasing fossil energy resources have resulted in energy saving objectives in all industry sectors. In boreal crop production, one of the most energy consuming operations is grain drying. Additionally, it is often a bottleneck in the harvest chain. Typical grain dryer type in northern Europe countries is a hot air batch dryer, where the grain batch is circulated in the drying silo until it is dry. Several studies have indicated that an increase in the drying air temperature decreases the dryer specific energy consumption per mass unit of evaporated water. However, too hot drying air may damage the vitality of the grain. On the other hand, the dryer the grain is, the higher temperatures can be used without degradation in grain vitality. Therefore a more precise control of the drying process could offer possibilities for saving energy and shortening the drying time. In this study, the energy saving possibilities achieved by the process control were examined in a miniature grain dryer. The research dryer was a mixed flow type and had an effective volume of ca. 700 liters. The cereal used in the drying tests was oats. The drying air temperature was elevated gradually by restraining the drying air flow as the drying process proceeded. Dryer exhaust air humidity was used as a control factor. The results showed that it is possible to reduce energy consumption and drying time by using this method. Further research is needed to resolve the upper limits for the drying air temperatures and the effects to the grain vitality.

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