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Construction of Solar Dryer Takes on Life of Own

July 26, 2013


Honest injun, it was not intended to be so large, but my goal of being able to dry one wet ton of duckweed a day dictated a large setup. This is the bare bones of a 50 screen array that will be fed by heated air from a solar tunnel. Right now, it is encased in plastic, both clear and black to either block or encourage sunlight in the setup. This AM, a crew of men will deliver aluminum arches for a 50 ft solar tunnel. I had a bunch of saplings cut down to the east, so the system begins getting direct sunlight at 9:00am.

I designed flexible screen systems that allow me to roll them up to access upper and lower levels. It’s taken a lot more of my summer than I care to admit but the learning curve has been tremendous. At some point, I’ll swap it out for a rotary dryer but this is my “crawl before I walk” stage. and is as close to sustainable as I can get it. All plastic will have a second and third life. I am drying duckweed in it now. The solar tunnel will really speed up efficiencies and I can hardly wait!Solar Dryer Plastic Stage

6 Comments leave one →
  1. July 29, 2013 12:49 pm

    Nice set up you’ve got there!


    • August 21, 2013 9:35 pm

      Hey Siemen, got any duckweed growing in your pools yet? I’m at the duckweed conference this week. A couple of folks are from the Netherlands. I need to network you with them.


  2. Susan Munroe permalink
    July 28, 2013 12:45 pm

    “…it is encased in plastic, both clear and black to either block or encourage sunlight in the setup.”

    Under what circumstances do you want to block the sunlight?

    How much is a ton of wet duckweed in volume, like cubic feet?

    It sounds like you’re moving right along. Do you have a market set up yet?



    • July 28, 2013 5:36 pm

      Hi Sue. The north side of the chimney gets black and the south gets clear in order to trap incoming sunlight and convert it to heat. The heat rises and pulls moist warm air from the duckweed along with it..The roof of the dryer itself gets black to block UV’s from destroying the carotenes in the duckweed.
      A ton of wet duckweed is approx. the same as water. I assume one wet ton of duckweed equals 1.2 cubic yards. or 32 cubic feet.
      Yes on the market. My kickoff is going to be mid-August.


  3. July 26, 2013 9:02 am

    Thanks, Craig. Am looking forward to getting a routine down of early morning harvests and getting all “put to bed”, then working ON the business rather than IN the business in the afternoons.


  4. Craig Whisenhunt permalink
    July 26, 2013 8:52 am

    Wow, that looks awesome, Tamra! Keep us posted!!


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