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DESIGN AND DEVELOPMENT OF RICE GRAIN DRYER POWERED BY

COMBUSTIBLE FARM WASTE (BIOMASS)

A Project Study

Presented to

The Faculty of Mechanical Engineering Department

College of Engineering

TECHNOLOGICAL UNIVERSITY OF THE PHILIPPINES

Manila

In Partial Fulfillment

Of the Course Requirements for the Degree of

BACHELOR OF SCIENCE IN MECHANICAL ENGINEERING

Proponents:

Velez, Aldrin E.

Mangubat, Dhenil T.

Rustia, Renzo M.

Flores, Jhunking L.

Monroyo, Arvie G.
Chapter 1

The Problem and its Background

1.1 Introduction

Grain drying is a crucial process that dictates the final quality of the grain when it reaches

the market. On rice particularly, drying affect its storability or the so-called shelf life of the grain

as well as its appearance and color. The rice grains from the harvest usually contain about 24 to

26 percent of moisture. When stored while having moisture of this amount, the grains will

eventually deteriorate. This also promotes bacteria growth and proliferation of insect pests.

Sun-drying is the traditional way of drying grains. Most of the farmers are fond of using

this method since there is no capital involved. They only needed a large surface area (sometimes

an open basketball court, otherwise along the highway) and of course a clear, sunny weather.

There are times that sun-drying fails the farmers that rely on it. In times like sudden rains,

the farmers that already scattered their grains on the ground for drying are the victims. Because

of the damage dealt by the rains, these farmers resort to sell their soaked grains on millers that

have access on dryers for cheap prices. Machines for rapid retrieval of grains from sun drying

exist. But these machines consume energy, have limited operation and high first costs; therefore,

they are not a viable solution for the sun-drying problem.

Grain drying machines are available on the market. The government also have these

“centralized drying stations” that aim to improve grain quality and offset the disadvantages of

sun-drying. These machines are of huge indoor installations that have drying capacities of about

6 tons of wet grains dried per 8 hours of operation (Maligaya Flatbed Drier, PhilRice).
These drying machines use fuel, mostly in the form of oil and gas. There are such

situations where farmers that needed the dryers the most are the farthest from the centralized

drying stations; so far that they need to transport their grains via trucks. In this era when the

petroleum fuel prices are skyrocketing, there are questions on the economic viability of using

these machines over sun-drying.

The reasons aforementioned above are the motivation for this project study to fabricate

and test a Rice grain dryer that will provide small-scale farmers an access to drying machines.

1.2 Background of the Study

Sun-drying is the most preferred method for drying grains. There were only two things

needed for sun-drying: clear sky sunny weather and a large surface area. The energy needed to

dry the grains was provided by the sun so there is no need spending for fuel at all. But even the

conditions needed to be satisfied are only two; it is difficult to secure both conditions. The

Philippines spend almost half of the year in rainy season. Securing both good amount of sunlight

and a wide, dry surface are not easy tasks.

It is also difficult to maintain the right temperature and humidity with sun-drying. Based

the handout series provided by PhilRice(2010), the allowable temperature for drying rice should

not exceed 43 degrees Celsius. Anything higher than that temperature will initiate the cracking of

grains; which is an undesirable property especially when milling rice. The road pavements are

usually used by farmers to dry their grains. When these pavements are heated by the sun for a

long time, it exceeds that temperature.

The drying machines are made to solve these sun-drying problems. The heating elements

as well as the ancillary equipment’s of these machines are fueled with oil, gas and sometimes
electric; though there are some that is fueled with biomass. Most of them are equipped with

temperature monitoring and control system. The installations and drying capacities are big and it

is often on “centralized stations”. Indoor drying is possible with the use of these machines.

But small-scale farmers working on an average of one hectare of land do not prefer these

drying machines. Farmers who do not own a tractor or truck are at disadvantage on these

centralized drying stations, so they choose to sun-dry their grains and take the risks accompanied

with it.

Even with the middle-scale farmers; those who are fond in the mechanization of farming;

do not entirely favor the existing drying machines over the traditional sun-drying because of its

high first cost.

1.3 Statement of the Problem

The main purpose of the study is the fabrication and testing of a Rice Grain Dryer that is

addressed to the problems stated below:

1. The sun-drying problem where it is hard to secure both good amount of sunlight and

large surface area especially during wet season.

2. The uneven and excessive heating of the grain with sun-drying.

3. The costly use of petroleum products in using drying machines.

1.4 Theoretical Framework


Drying is the process of removing moisture from solid and/or semisolid materials.

Theoretically, drying removes moisture not just on the surface of the material but also its

inherent moisture (moisture that is not present in the surface). This process utilizes heat to raise

the temperature of the material and its moisture content to the desired level that in turn will

evaporate the liquid part of the material.

The theory of heat transfer is best explained by the law of heat transfer, proposed by the

French mathematical physicist Joseph Fourier. In equation form:

𝑑𝑡
𝑄 = −𝑘𝐴 ( )
𝑑𝐿

Where:

Q = heat conducted or heat supplied by the furnace

A = the surface area of heat transfer

k = the thermal conductivity of the material

dt = the difference in temperature of the two sides of material

dL = the thickness of the material

It is important to note that air, which is the proposed medium of heat transfer in the project study,

has a relatively low thermal conductivity compared to solid materials such as metal.

The external combustion engine is a type of prime mover that theoretically can run on

any type of heat source. The combustion takes place outside of the heating chamber of the
engine. In case of the Stirling engine proposed by Dr. Robert Stirling (1790 – 1878), the outside

heat source expands the fluid (air) that produces the work.

The theory of drying, heat transfer and the external combustion are the key ideas in

producing the output desired. The theoretical framework is hereby presented in figure 1:

• fundamentals of drying
• theory of heat transfer
Theory • external combustion technology

• design of the drying system with respect to the theory of heat transfer
• design of the external combustion engine that uses the same heat used
Synthesis in drying.

• a way of efficient usage of fuel for drying


Output

Figure 1 - The Theoretical Framework

1.5 Conceptual Framework

The project study is conceptualized by assessing the farmers’ problem about grain drying

and looking at the existing solutions provided by the recent studies about it. The observations

and research suggest that the solution to the problem will materialize in a form of a rice grain

dryer that can be powered with combustible farm wastes as its main fuel. The main concepts of

the rice grain drying machine are as follows:

 Furnace design

 Design of External Combustion Engine (ECE) for prime mover


 Drying chamber design

The conceptual framework is presented in figure 2:

• Grain data and review of the traditional grain drying processes


• Research of existing grain dryer designs
Input
• Design conceptualization and computation based on the objectives,
scopes and delimitation of the study
• Material selection based on the design concept and computed factors
Process • Fabrication and testing of the prototype machine

• Materialization of the rice grain dryer (prototype)


• Technical data from the testing of prototype
Output

Figure 2 – The Conceptual Framework

1.6 Objectives

The study aims to produce a prototype rice grain dryer machine. The specific objectives

are listed below:

1. To achieve a 1-ton grain-drying capacity for 8 hours of operation or less.

2. To design a furnace that can fire the dryer using various combustible farm wastes as the

main fuel.

3. To utilize an external combustion engine that uses the heat from the furnace to power the

duct fan. The target power rating of the engine is 1 horsepower (hp).
4. To install temperature monitoring and control system to the machine.

5. To achieve a grain quality that is acceptable for storage based on PhilRice studies (14%

moisture content or less).

1.7 Significance of the Study

The project study is designed to provide solutions to the grain drying problems of the

farmers; as well as to provide technical data that is useful for further studies and references. This

in turn, will be beneficial for groups of people including but not limited to:

1. The Agricultural Community

The direct beneficiary of the project study will be the agricultural community.

Once the prototype is completed and proven to be working, immediate machine drying

right after harvesting will be possible even for small-scale farmers.

2. The Researchers

The researchers, especially those that are in the agricultural sector might use the

study to be one of their reference materials as they conduct their own study related to

this.

3. The Scientific and Engineering Community

The project study will employ proven and innovative technologies derived from

the engineering theories and design. Hopefully, this innovation of technologies will
contribute and be recognized by the scientific and engineering communities in the

country.

1.8 Definition of Terms

Grain drying - Grain drying is process of drying grain to prevent spoilage during storage. The

grain drying described in this article is that which uses fuel- or electric-powered processes

supplementary to natural ones, including swathing/windrowing for drying by ambient air and

sunshine.

IRRI - The International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) is an international agricultural

research and training organization with headquarters in Los Baños, Laguna in the Philippines and

offices in seventeen countries with ~1,300 staff. IRRI is known for its work in

developing rice varieties that contributed to the Green Revolution in the 1960s which preempted

the famine in Asia.

Flue gas- Flue gas is the gas exiting to the atmosphere via a flue, which is a pipe or channel for

conveying exhaust gases from a fireplace, oven, furnace, boiler or steam generator. Quite often,

the flue gas refers to the combustion exhaust gas

Fan test rig - Performance measurements on fans using standardized test-rigs are carried out, for

example, to find the characteristic curves required for a performance specification, to predict the

performance capabilities of large fans from model tests or to assess the individual stages in the

development of new fans.


Fixed bed dryers - Fixed-bed batch dryers usually have rectangular bins with plenum chamber

underneath (flatbed dryer, box dryer, inclined bed dryer) or circular bins with central duct

(Vietnamese low-cost dryer). The most common fixed bed dryers are flat bed dryers which have

a very simple design. Grain is laid out on a perforated screen, and dried by forcing air from

below.

Rice hull - Rice hulls (or rice husks) are the hard protecting coverings of grains of rice. In

addition to protecting rice during the growing season, rice hulls can be put to use as building

material, fertilizer, insulation material, or fuel.

Flat-Bed Dryers – a low cost, compact, and portable dryer made from locally available material.

It is easy to operate with little need for maintenance. It is made of three components: the bin to

hold the grain on a perforated or lanced sheet metal, the burner or rice hull furnace to heat the

air, and a fan to force the drying air.

1.9 Scopes and Delimitations

Due to the length of study, certain scopes and delimitations are implemented to assure the

feasibility of the project:

1. The study will focus only fabrication and testing of the rice grain dryer. The machine will

be tested using the data from previous studies related to grain drying. Therefore, the

evaluation of grain quality for different temperature ranges or other post drying

evaluations are beyond the scope of the study.

2. Although the output prototype can theoretically process any types of grain, the grain type

in the study is limited only to rice grain (paddy).

3. The temperature and control system of the grain dryer are limited only to manual control.
4. Although the furnace can theoretically burn any combustible fuel, the main fuel is limited

only to dried rice husk, saw dust, rice straw and chopped woods.
CHAPTER 2

REVIEW OF RELATED LITERATURE

2.1 Introduction and Definitions

Dryer Components

A dryer certainly entails of three main modules and often has some additional

accessories. The foremost components are: the drying bin for holding the grain; the fan for

moving the air through the dryer and the grain; the air distribution system; and the heating

system for pre-heating the drying air.

Fig. 1 Dryer components of a Flat Bed Dryer

1. Drying Bin

The purpose of the drying bin is to hold the grain for drying and in in-store drying also to

serve as the storage bin after drying. Drying bins come in diverse shapes conferring to the
requirements of the design of the dryer (Figure 1). Contingent on the model of dryer and locally

available resources they can be made from different materials such as metal, wood, concrete,

bricks, woven bamboo mats etc.

2. Fan

Fans move the drying air through the drying system. Depending on the requisite airflow

rate and the desirable pressure creation either axial-flow or centrifugal fans are used. The

variances of both fan types are as follows:

Fig. 2 Overview on axial flow and centrifugal fans

Generally, it can be said that the cheaper axial-flow fans provide a higher airflow rate at

lower pressure creation and are therefore more appropriate for thin bed batch dryers with low

resistance to airflow. They are also being used in re-circulating batch dryers where high air

volumes are desired to remove H2O quickly for short drying time. The classier centrifugal fans

have higher pressure creation and can overcome the resistance of deeper beds but they have
lower airflow rates. When a centrifugal fan is the choice backwards curved rotors should be used

because of their non-overloading characteristics. Fan design is an engineering art by itself and

many fans sold by Asian manufacturers do not conform to their specifications. In tests conducted

in the Philippines fan performance was 30-60% lower than quoted.

On the other hand, the fan is probably the most important component for getting good

performance out of a dryer. When buying a fan, it is therefore advisable to request the

manufacturer to test the fan on a fan test rig in presence of the customer in order to guarantee

that it performs according to the specifications.

3. Air Distribution System

The purpose of the air distribution system is to deliver the drying air to the drying zone in

the dryer and to remove the moisture that was extracted from the grains. In suction systems they

also collect the dust that is created after the air leaves the drying section. For fixed bed dryers

usually, positive pressure systems are used to blow the air through the grain bulk while re-

circulating and continuous-flow dryers usually have negative pressure (suction) based air

distribution systems.

Suction systems have the big advantage of collecting all the air that exits the dryer and

thus also collecting the dust which can then be easily separated e.g. in a cyclone. This is getting

more important with tighter emission control requirements. There are re-circulating dryers with

pressure systems, especially when they have circular bins with radial airflow from inside-out

because in this case the air outlet is much larger than the inlet. But these kinds of dryers

excessively release dust into the environment during operation. Major elements of the air

distribution system are a plenum chamber, air channels, and air ducts or false floors.

4. Plenum Chamber
The plenum chamber is a chamber into which a fan delivers the drying air before it enters

the grain bulk. The purpose of the plenum chamber is to let the air calm down before it enters the

air distribution system in order to guarantee an equal distribution of pressure and temperature of

the drying air throughout the drying section. The contribution of a properly designed plenum

chamber to even drying and thus to producing good quality is often not known. The bigger the

chamber is the more even the airflow will be. Generally speaking metal sheets are cheap and by

providing for a sufficient plenum chamber is often a simple and cost effective way to improve

drying air distribution.

5. Air ducts, false floors and air-sweep floors for fixed-bed drying bins

For fixed-bed batch dryers three different air distribution elements are used: air ducts;

false floors; and air-sweep floors. Air ducts are the cheapest solution for distributing the air in

the grain bulk. Because of their uneven air distribution at the inlets they should only be used with

low initial grain MC, e.g. for low-temperature drying in second stage dryers. Ducts are simple

and easy to manufacture and they can be removed for unloading and cleaning the bin.

Fig. 3 Comparison of air ducts, perforated false floors and air-sweep floors

6. Air ducts, general recommendations

The air distribution system should impose the least possible resistance to air-flow in order

to provide
sufficient drying air and to transport evaporated water away. For maximized airflow and even air

distribution:

 Provide generous plenum chambers in pressure systems for even air distribution (metal is

cheap, fuel and quality loss is more expensive in the long run);

 At perforated false floors make sure that the open area (area of the holes) is at least 20%

of the total area to avoid pressure drop at the perforated metal sheet. Use sheets with

holes of around 2 mm to avoid clogging by fine particles and to prevent grains from

falling through the holes;

 Make sure air ducts have sufficient size. It is better to over-design than to use too little

diameters since turbulent flows in small diameter ducts waste a lot of energy;

 Prevent losses at junctions of ducts by using the same diameters;

 Make round curves instead of sharp edges when the airflow needs to change direction;

and

 For inlets use nozzle shaped fittings instead of straight cut tubes.

7. Heating system

Depending on the availability and cost different fuels can be used for heating the drying

air such as kerosene, diesel, LPG, biomass like rice hull, or electricity (Fig. 4).
Fig. 4 Overview on dryer heating systems using different fuels

8. Rice Hull Furnaces

Rice hull is a by-product in rice milling and is usually available for free or are cheaper

compared to fossil fuels. It is also a regenerative form of fuel and therefore from the

environmental and economic point of view rice hull would be an ideal fuel for drying.

Unfortunately, the physical properties of rice hull like low density, abrasiveness, and steep angle

of repose make it a product that is difficult to store, handle, convey and to gravity-feed it into

furnaces.

Fig. 5

2.2 Background and Development

Sun Drying Method

Sun drying has greater requirements of labor and space, especially in the case of large-

scale and centralized treatment. Although labor is relatively cheap in Philippines, the cost of

commercial-scale sun drying is still very high. In addition, sun drying depends very much on the

weather, and takes more time. If there are long spells of bad weather, there is a high risk of grain
losses. Also, the handling losses during sun drying are not insubstantial. However, sun drying

does have some advantages. There appears to be no appreciable reduction in grain quality

associated with the process, and grain can be kept fresh, of good color, and free of contaminants.

The traditional practice of grain drying is to spread crop on the ground, thus exposing it

to the effects of sun, wind and rain. The logic of this is inescapable; the sun supplies an

appreciable and inexhaustible source of heat to evaporate moisture from the grain, and the

velocity of the wind to remove the evaporated moisture is, in many locations, at least the

equivalent of the airflow produced in a mechanical dryer. In tropical countries, for at least

several months of the year, the mean level of insolation upon the ground is more than 0.5 kW/m²

(measured as a mean over the hours of daylight). The heat available therefore, assuming a 12

hour day, is 21.6 MJ/m², a quantity theoretically sufficient to evaporate 9 kg of water.

Sun drying of grain remains the most common drying method in tropical developing

countries. It is first employed when the crop is standing in the field prior to harvest; maize cobs
may be left on the standing plant for several weeks after attaining maturity. Although not

requiring labor or other inputs field drying may render the grain subject to insect infestation and

mould growth, prevent the land being prepared for the next crop and is vulnerable to theft and

damage from animals. Drying in the field may also be carried out after harvest with the harvested

plants laid in stacks with the grain, maize cobs or panicles raised above the ground and exposed

directly to the sun. Data on the drying of paddy in the field has been gathered by Angledette

(1962) and Mendoza et al. (1982).

Drying on flat exposed surfaces is the most common way of drying grain after harvesting

and threshing. For drying small amounts on the farm grain may be spread on any convenient area

of land. Contamination with dirt cannot be easily avoided with this method and cleaner dried

grain can be obtained by drying the grain on plastic sheets, preferably black.

Purpose-constructed drying floors are commonly used where there is a need to dry large

quantities of grain during the season, e.g. at most rice mills. The floors are usually made of

concrete or brick, these materials presenting a relatively smooth and hardwearing surface. Floors

should be constructed to withstand the movement of vehicles and sloped or channelled to hasten

the runoff of rainwater. The paddy is spread in a thin layer on the floors and raked at intervals,

preferably 7-8 times daily, to facilitate even drying. At night the paddy is heaped into rows and

covered with sheeting.

Work by Chancellor (1965) and Soetoyo & Soemardi (1979) has demonstrated that paddy

can be dried from 24-26% moisture to 14% moisture at depths of 50-100 mm at a rate of 3.3

kg/m².h for stirred paddy and 1.9 kg/m².h for unstirred paddy. The grain can reach temperatures

as high as 60°C under clear skies and the rate of drying can be extremely high. Under these
circumstances kernel cracking and loss of head rice can be appreciable, particularly if paddy is

dried to below 14% moisture. Covering the paddy around midday may be beneficial under

particularly hot and sunny conditions. Experiments at IRRI have shown that cracking can be

reduced by 25% if paddy is dried in the shade but the benefit from the improved quality is

generally more than offset by the longer drying times and hence reduced throughput and

increased costs.

In rainy weather, even though drying will be slow, every effort should be made to prevent

wet freshly-harvested paddy from over-heating with deterioration in quality by spreading on

floors rather than let it remain in heaps and sacks. Under these conditions or when there is great

demand for drying space paddy can be dried to 17-18% moisture and then temporarily stored for

15-30 days before final drying.

The main disadvantages of sun drying are that it is more labour intensive and takes

longer. Some local governments give farmers incentives to encourage sun drying at farm level so

as to solve the problem of insufficient capacity in state depots. This has not been successful to

date. (Data taken from FAO Agricultural Services Bulletin No.109)

Mechanical Drying

For mechanical drying, design and manufacture of grain dryers started in the late 1950s.

However, early development was not rapid enough. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, successive

bumper harvests created a large grain drying problem. Mechanical means of grain drying have

been developed more rapidly since then.


Most grain dryers are designed and manufactured by local Research and Design Institutes

and end users. There are three main types of grain dryers: tower dryers; rotary drum dryers; and

fluidized-bed dryers.

Mechanical drying has many advantages it is independent of the weather, has low

operating costs; and is suitable for fast, large-scale and centralized facilities. However, good

design and operations are very important, because grain is easily damaged by over-drying.

Flat Bed Dryers

Flat-bed dryer has been developed for small to medium scale farmers, its capacity is

around 1-3 tonnes/day with drying time of 6-12 hours. Flat-bed dryer is simple to construct using

easily available and inexpensive materials and easy to operate with unskilled labor. The walls of

the drying bin can be constructed of wood, brick or metal. The floor of the drying chamber is

preferably made from fine wire mesh, suitably supported, or perforated metal. If these are not

available then sacking spread over a coarser but stronger wire mesh can be used. To facilitate an

even airflow through the bed the length of the drying chamber should be 2-3 times the width.

The height of the plenum chamber is of the order of 0.3 m. Unloading ports can be fitted at

intervals in the walls of the drying chamber.


In order to prevent excessive moisture gradients through the bed, the depth of grain in the

bin is relatively shallow, 0.4-0.7 m. and the air velocity is usually of the order of 0.08-0.15 m/s

for maize and 0.15-0.25 m/s for paddy. The temperature of the air is selected according to the

desired safe storage moisture content of the grain. For the drying of paddy in tropical areas an air

temperature of 40-45°C is usually used, with a heater capable of raising the air temperature by

10-15°C. With such bed depths and air velocities the pressure drop over the bed is relatively low,

250-500 Pa, and therefore simple and inexpensive axial-flow fans can be used. Typically power

requirements are 1.5-2.5 kW per tonne of grain for a belt-driven fan powered by a petrol or

diesel engine.

Large capacity flat-bed dryers can be used in cooler dryer areas. The advantage of this

technique is that the bin is used for both drying and storage with savings in both capital and

operating costs. With heated air at a temperature of 40-45 °C, bed depths of 2-3 m can be used

with air velocities through the bed not exceeding 0.08 m/s. Since drying times to achieve

reductions in moisture content of 5-10% can be of the order of 20-40 days, this method should

not be used in humid areas with grain of moisture contents greater than 18% because of the risks

of sprouting and mould growth in the upper layers of the bed.

Re-circulating batch dryer

Re-circulating batch dryers have been used for a long time in developed countries. The

dryer generally has a drying section and a tempering section, and grain circulates through these

sections in order to alternate drying and tempering. At the same time the grains are mixed which

results in minimal moisture variation in the dried grains. In general, burners are separated from

the fan and the fan draws air through the dryer and the burner that is mounted on the opposite
side of the dryer. Recirculation of grain is done by a belt or auger for unloading and bucket

elevator for vertical transport of the grain.

The main advantages of the re-circulating dryer are its size and shape occupies only very

limited floor space therefore it can easily be placed inside a grain store or warehouse. The

continuous mixing of the grain during the drying operation results in a very low moisture content

variation. During the circulation process the grain is tempered when it passes though sections of

the dryer where it is not exposed to the hot drying air and automatic controls with automatic

shutoff make the dryer virtually fully automatic.

However, the loading, unloading and circulation of grain create dust which needs to be

collected in a collection system. In addition, it is recommended to pre-clean the grain prior to

loading and drying. As with the flatbed dryer, re-circulating dryers come in a variety of

capacities, from 2 tons (for seed production stations) up to 20 tons (for cooperative drying
stations). Depending on the flow of the drying air relative to the flow of the grain re-circulating

batch dryers can be classified as cross flow or mixed flow re-circulating batch dryers.

((Postharvest Unit, CESD Version 2, October 2013 International Rice Research Institute

(IRRI))

Continuous Flow Dryer

A continuous flow dryer cannot be used as a stand-alone machine but needs to be

integrated in a larger system consisting of the dryer, several tempering bins and conveying

equipment. It is not possible to dry the paddy in a continuous flow dryer from typical MC

content down to levels for safe storage in one single pass. Typical drying MC reduction rates per

pass are around 2%. One pass lasts 1530 minutes at around 70ºC drying air temperature. Higher

rates could be achieved by increasing either the drying air temperature or the retention time but

both would negatively affect grain quality because of increased cracking. Continuous flow

drying systems are therefore operated as multi-pass systems where the grain is moved to

tempering bins for around 24 hours after each pass until the desired MC is reached. Sometimes

the tempering bins are equipped with aeration facilities to cool down the grain with some

additional low-temperature drying effect. Actual residence time in the continuous flow dryer in a

multi pass system is 2-3 hours for a 10% reduction of moisture and is thus below that of a re-

circulating batch dryer.

Continuous flow dryer operation needs to be carefully planned and requires good

management in order to fully utilize the expensive equipment. In addition it requires continuous

input of wet grains at a steady rate. The small scale farms, multitude of varieties, low labor and

management skills and high capital investment needs are some of the reasons why continuous
flow dryers are for the time being not feasible in most Asian countries. (Postharvest Unit, CESD

Version 2, October 2013 International Rice Research Institute (IRRI))

Andy Ross and his D-90 Stirling Engine

The stirling engine is based on the natural fact that the pressure of a gas in a sealed

container will increase if the gas is heated, and decrease if the gas is cooled. The engine is

designed so that the working gas sealed within its cylinders is first compressed, then heated to

increase its pressure, then expanded to produce power, then cooled to lower its pressure, then

compressed to begin the cycle anew. Since the gas is at a higher average temperature, and

therefore pressure, during its expansion than during its compression, more power is produced

during expansion than is reabsorbed during compression, and this net excess power is the useful

output of the engine.The same gas is used over and over again, making the stirling a sealed,

closed-cycle system. All that is added to the system is high temperature heat, and all that is

removed from the system is low temperature (waste) heat and mechanical power.
The D-90 engine has a 90 cubic centimeters swept volume, which offered the possibility

of becoming a 500 watt air-charged engine, weighing under 5 kg, with a charge pressure of only

5 bar absolute. The engine produce a peak power of about 100 watts for each atmosphere of

pressurization, at a speed of about 3300 rpm. In fact, the engine produced only 48 watts at 2880

rpm at one bar, and 77 watts at 2724 rpm at 1.7 bar pressure. The maximum power output of the

engine is 230 watts at 54.8 Hz in an inlet pressure of 2735 kPa. (Making Stirling Engines Andy

Ross 3rd Edition)


Chapter 3

Methodology

3.1 Design overview

The objective of this study is to produce a prototype grain drying machine that has the

features listed below:

1. 1-ton grain-drying capacity for 8 hours of operation or less

2. Furnace that can fire the dryer using various combustible farm wastes as the main fuel

3. External combustion engine (1/2 hp capacity) that uses the heat from the furnace to

power the duct fan

4. Temperature monitoring and control system

5. Mount and wheels

6. 14% or less moisture content grain output

3.2 Theoretical Computations

To set the properties needed for the design, it is required to consider the simplified drying

process that the study will be using as its basis for design.

Figure 3 – Grain Drying Schematic Diagram


Properties of air at point 1: (assumed condition of air in farms)

 t = 35 degrees Celsius

 RH = 100%

 Atmospheric Air

Properties of air at point 2: (heated air)

Properties of air at point 3: (assuming air will leave the dryer as saturated air at equilibrium with

the grain temperature)

 t = 43 degrees Celsius

 RH = 100%

Process 1-2: Sensible Heating: W1=W2

Process 2-3: Cooling and Dehumidifying: h2=h3

At point 1: t1 = 35 degrees Celsius, RH+100%

𝑊𝑣 0.622𝑃𝑣
𝑊1 = =
𝑊𝑑. 𝑔 𝑃𝑚 − 𝑃𝑣

𝑃𝑣
𝑅𝐻 = 𝑃𝑣 = 𝑅𝐻(𝑃𝑠𝑎𝑡 ) = 1.0(5.628 𝑘𝑃𝑎) = 5.628 𝑘𝑃𝑎
𝑃𝑠𝑎𝑡 @ 35℃

0.622(5.628𝑘𝑃𝑎) 𝑘𝑔𝑣
𝑊1 = = 0.03658 = 𝑊2
(101.325 − 5.628)𝑘𝑃𝑎 𝑘𝑔𝑑.𝑎

At process 2-3: h2=h3

𝑄 = [𝐶𝑝𝑎 𝑡2 + 𝑤2 ℎ𝑔2 ] − [𝐶𝑝𝑎 𝑡3 + 𝑤3 ℎ𝑔3 ] = 0


𝐾𝐽
𝐶𝑝𝑎 = 1.0062
𝑘𝑔 ∙ 𝐾

𝑘𝑔𝑣
𝑤2 = 0.03658
𝑘𝑔𝑑.𝑎

ℎ𝑔2 = 2501 + 1.835𝑡2

0.622𝑃𝑣 𝐾𝐽
𝑤= ; ℎ𝑔3 = ℎ𝑔 @ 43℃ = 2579.6
𝑃𝑚 − 𝑃𝑣 𝑘𝑔

𝑃𝑣 = 𝑃𝑠𝑎𝑡 @ 43℃ ; 𝑅𝐻 = 100%

𝑃𝑣 = 8.689𝑘𝑃𝑎

0.622(8.689𝑘𝑃𝑎) 𝑘𝑔𝑣
𝑊3 = = 0.05804
(101.325 − 8.689)𝑘𝑃𝑎 𝑘𝑔𝑑.𝑎

𝐾𝐽 𝑘𝑔𝑣 𝑘𝑔𝑣 𝐾𝐽
0 = 1.0062 [ 𝑡2 − 43℃ ] + 0.03658 [2501 + 1.83 𝑡2 ] + 0.05804 [2579.6 ]
𝑘𝑔 ∙ 𝐾 𝑘𝑔𝑑.𝑎 𝑘𝑔𝑑.𝑎 𝑘𝑔

𝑡2 = 94.553℃

ℎ2 = 𝐶𝑝𝑎 𝑡2 − 𝑤2 [ 2501 + 1.83 𝑡2 ]

𝐾𝐽
ℎ2 = 192.93
𝑘𝑔

By mass balance: for 1000kg of wet grain at approximate 25%MC, 110kg of moisture must be

removed to achieve 14%MC. Time duration is 4 hours.

𝑚𝑎 𝑤2 + 𝑚2 = 𝑚𝑎 𝑤3 + 𝑚3

𝑚3 − 𝑚2 (1000 − 890)𝑘𝑔
𝑚𝑎 = =
𝑤3 − 𝑤2 4ℎ𝑟(0.05804 − 0.03658)
𝑘𝑔𝑎𝑖𝑟
𝑚𝑎 = 1281.45 => 𝐴
ℎ𝑟

At process 1-2

𝑄𝑎 = 𝑚𝑎 (ℎ2 − ℎ1 )

𝑘𝑔𝑎𝑖𝑟 1ℎ𝑟
𝑄𝑎 = 1281.45 (192.63 − 1.0062(35) + .003658 [ 2501 + 1.839 (35)]) ( )
ℎ𝑟 3600𝑠

𝐾𝐽
𝑄𝑎 = 22.74 𝑜𝑟 𝑘𝑊
𝑠

Fan computations: ∆𝑃 = 30 𝑚𝑚 𝐻2 𝑂 ; 𝑏𝑎𝑠𝑒𝑑 𝑜𝑛 𝑃ℎ𝑖𝑙𝑅𝑖𝑐𝑒 𝑑𝑟𝑦𝑒𝑟 𝑑𝑎𝑡𝑎

𝑄 = 𝐴𝑣 = 𝑚𝜈

𝑘𝑔 1 ℎ𝑟 1𝑚3
= 1281.45 × ×
ℎ𝑟 3600𝑠 1.2 𝑘𝑔

𝑚3
= 0.2966 => 𝐵
𝑠

𝑚3
𝑄 0.2966
𝑣= = 𝑠 = 1.65 𝑚
𝐴 2(. 3)(.3) 𝑠

∆𝑃 ∆𝑣 2
𝐻= + + ∆𝑧 ; ∆𝑧 = 0
𝛾 2𝑔

101 325 𝑃𝑎 2
0.030 𝑚 𝐻2 𝑂 × (1.65)2𝑚
10.33 𝑚 𝐻2 𝑂 𝑠 2
= + 𝑚
𝑚 1.2 𝑘𝑔 2 (9.8066 2 )
9.8066 2 × 3 𝑠
𝑠 𝑚

𝐻 = 25.14𝑚
𝑃 = 𝛾𝑄𝐻

1.2𝑘𝑔 𝑚 𝑚3
= (9.8066 ) (0.2966 ) (25.14𝑚)
𝑚3 𝑠2 𝑠

𝑃 = 87.74 𝑊𝑎𝑡𝑡𝑠

This is based only on ideal systems. The computations here neglected fluid friction losses

and the possibility of by-pass air. These computations are only good for design estimations.

Computing for fuel consumption:

𝑄𝐴𝑇 = 𝑄𝑇𝑂𝑇𝐴𝐿 𝑅𝐸𝑄𝑈𝐼𝑅𝐸𝐷 = 6.828 𝑘𝑊 + 22.73 𝑘𝑊

Where: 6.828kW = theoretical heat needed by the designed external combustion engine

𝐾𝐽
𝑄𝐴𝑇 6.828 + 22.73 𝑠 𝐾𝑔
𝑚̇𝐻𝑣 = 𝑄𝐴𝑇 => 𝑚̇ = = = 0.00193
𝐻𝑣 𝐾𝐽 𝑠
15300
𝐾𝑔

𝑘𝑔 3600𝑠 𝑘𝑔 𝑘𝑔
𝑚̇ = 0.00193 𝑥 = 6.95 𝑜𝑟 7
𝑠 1ℎ𝑟 ℎ𝑟 ℎ𝑟

3.3 Design Theories and Concepts

3.3.1 Dryer Type

The dryer type will be of batch-type with a 1-ton (1000kg) capacity. The mode of heat

transfer is of convection type using heated air as the transfer medium. This type of dryer is

presumed to consume less fan power as opposed to the flat bed dryers. It is because in flat bed

dryers, the grains must be fluidized. Fluidization consumes more power due to its large pressure

differential needs.
3.3.2 Furnace Type

The furnace will be a cyclonic type furnace. Rice husk is being delivered from the hopper

to the grate with the screw conveyor that is manually turned by the operator. The screw conveyor

also pushes the ash to the ash bin as it is turned to deliver rice husk on the grate. An air plenum

below the grate will provide combustion air.

3.3.3 Drying chamber

The drying container will be a 20-pieces stacked rectangular wire box 1.3m x 1.3m that

can be filled with rice grain up to 50mm height (estimated grain weight = 50kgs per wire box).

The stacked configuration is assumed to increase the surface area for heat transfer and drying.

The wire boxes will be enclosed in a wall made of wood coated with sheet metal. One side of the

wall will be vented to release humid air from the chamber.

3.3.4 Air circulating system

The air will be forced to piles of tubes that will be heated with the furnace. After the air

has been heated, it will be forced to the drying chamber to heat the grains and remove its

moisture. The fan to be used will be an axial flow fan because of its high flow rate properties.

The piles of tubes are assumed to increase the surface area for heating the air.

3.4 Testing Procedures

3.4.1 Grain moisture content testing


The grain samples will be weighed and marked as “gross weight”. Then, it will be heated

in the oven for 8 hours or until there will be no noticeable weight reduction. After that, measure

the grain weight and marked it as “bone dry weight”. The formula for moisture content will be:

𝑏𝑜𝑛𝑒 𝑑𝑟𝑦 𝑤𝑒𝑖𝑔ℎ𝑡


𝑀𝐶 = × 100%
𝑔𝑟𝑜𝑠𝑠 𝑤𝑒𝑖𝑔ℎ𝑡

3.4.2 Proposed dryer testing

The 1000kg wetted rice husk will be the substitute for the harvested grains for testing the

dryer. If the testing is success, the dryer will be tested for real harvested rice grain.

3.5 Project Development Diagram

Related Studies and Identification of the Problem


Data Gathering and Evaluation

Planning and Conceptualization

Technical
Feasibility
Evaluation

Design Validation and Prototype Testing