The goal of this project is to find a viable solar drying system to produce dehydrated fruit (mango, banana, naranjilla and tomate de arbol) in the subtropical climate of Ecuador. We seek to expand production capacity at KIWA, lower energy input costs, and increase product life and quality. The establishment of improved technologies will be leveraged by simultaneously advancing relationships with small‐scale producers to create a more secure, sustainable future for the company and growers.
Due to the need of a large‐scale system and the amount of power required to produce air speeds through a large space, electricity will need to be incorporated into dehydrator designs. D‐Lab and KIWA will analyze the Ecuadorian energy sector in more detail to determine if electricity costs are anticipated to trend significantly in any direction. Because on‐grid electricity is such a significant portion of variable energy costs in the prototypical hybrid system above and because of prior inconsistencies in pricing from the national supplier, we believe this area merits further attention and diligence. Prototyping in D‐Lab II will further address needs of the technology regarding air flow.
To improve farmer relations and secure raw material supplies, the D‐Lab team recommends Kiwa initiate the establishment of a contracted farmers’ association/cooperative for the reasons listed in the Objective 2, Solution 2 section. Member farmers will be contracted to produce crops as specified by Kiwa, giving Kiwa increased stability and control over their supply chain and farmers increased stability and control over their revenue generation.
Winter 2013 – FinalReport2KIWA SolarDrying Final Report