South African solar-powered cooling system for crop storage

Researchers from South Africa’s University of KwaZulu-Natal and the Agricultural Research Council have assessed the feasibility of a solar+storage air-cooling system, combined with evaporative cooling (IAC+EC) tech, for crop storage in remote parts of Sub-Saharan Africa.

“The solar modules were arranged in three series-three strings and were used in conjunction with a three string-48V bank facility,” the scientists said. They said the system could be used in particularly hot and dry environments with the incorporation of an indirect heat exchanger. They tested the IAC+EC system for cold storage of tomatoes over a period of 28 days in September.

“The inner dimensions of the unit were 2340 mm high × 5880 mm long × 3880 mm wide, giving a storage chamber volume of about 53-m3 with a holding capacity of 3.8 tons of tomatoes,” the researchers said. “The IAC+EC system design specifications provided environmental conditions of dry bulb temperature of 14 to 20°C, relative humidity of 89 to 94% and cooling efficiency of 88 to 96% depending on the time of the day.”


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