Techno-Economic Analysis of a Crossflow Column Dryer for Maize Drying in Ghana

Date
2021-06-21
Authors
Obeng-Akrofi, George
Akowuah, Joseph O.
Maier, Dirk
Addo, Ahmad
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Agricultural and Biosystems EngineeringFood Science and Human Nutrition
Abstract
In Ghana, smallholder maize farmers continue to serve as the primary contributor to maize production. These farmers, however, still face challenges of access to appropriate, effective, and efficient drying systems. They continue to depend on open sun drying, which leads to high post-harvest losses. In this study, a 500 kg portable column dryer with a biomass burner heat source was evaluated using maize. Indicators such as drying rate, drying efficiency, and moisture extraction rate were used to assess its technical performance. The economic performance of the drying system was appraised using Net Present Value (NPV), Internal Rate of Return (IRR), Benefit-Cost Ratio (BCR), and Payback Period (PBP). The results showed that the moisture content of maize was reduced from 22.3% to 13.4 ± 2.6% in 5 h at an average drying rate of 1.81%/h and drying efficiency of 64.7%. Utilization of the column dryer for the provision of drying services in a maize-growing community over a 10-year utilization period proved viable with an NPV and IRR of $1633 and 71%, respectively, PBP of less than two years, and BCR of 2.82. Adoption of such low-capacity mobile grain dryers in sub-Saharan Africa would be beneficial in providing timely drying services and improve the socio-economic status of smallholder maize farmers in the region.
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This article is published asObeng-Akrofi, George, Joseph O. Akowuah, Dirk E. Maier, and Ahmad Addo. "Techno-Economic Analysis of a Crossflow Column Dryer for Maize Drying in Ghana." Agriculture 11, no. 6 (2021): 568. DOI: 10.3390/agriculture11060568. Copyright 2021 by the authors. Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0). Posted with permission.
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biomass utilization, economic analysis, grain dryer, maize drying, technical performance
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