Greenhouse Solar Drying Systems to Improve Quality of Agricultural Products
By Asmahanim Amir
Pictures by Shahiddan Saidi
TANJUNG MALIM, 23 May 2019 – Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) has introduced eco-friendly greenhouse dryers system in some states in Malaysia in the effort of ensuring the dried food product cleaner and safer, the in some states in Malaysia.
The system was originated from observation of the drying process of agricultural products and seafood are carried out using traditional methods, where the product is left open under the sun. This process is argued to be ineffective and may affect the quality and hygiene of products caused by air pollution.
The are several advantages of the system relative to the traditional method. Among them are the drying process can be controlled, the threat of insects and animals can be minimized, better quality control, efficient and cleaner.
The Principle Research Fellow, Solar Energy Research Institute (SERI) UKM, Prof. Dr. Mohd Hafidz Ruslan said solar drying systems can be known as one of renewable energy, i.e. energy derived from solar energy, wind, waves and geothermal.
“UKM always open to translate research products to the community. For example, this greenhouse solar dryer system that is used in Taman Kebun Bandar here is one of the examples of how UKM links with communities and society,” he said at the Program Hari Bumi 2019, recently.
He further explained that UKM has been making the trial process of solar dryer in some areas such as Chuping, Perlis; Taiping, Bidor and Tanjung Malin in Perak; Semporna, Sabah and Pontian, Johor
“The drying system is capable of producing constant temperatures from 40 to 60 degrees Celsius, that tailor-made for drying of agricultural products, and herbs Among the agricultural material dried in such areas is kenaf, seafood including seaweed, medical herbs, sliced tamarind etc. only take two to three days to go through the drying process.” he added.
The photovoltaic technology was used to generate fan that is then transformed into battery power to produce hot air. The system can be a good instrument for instilling awareness on energy saving to reduce the impact of pollution on the well-being of future generations.
Prof. Dr. Mohd Hafidz said UKM also plans to commercialize the drying system specifically for those involved in the food or agriculture industry that will cost around RM20, 000 per unit.