Skip to content

Duckweed Solar Dryer in Operation

August 11, 2013
That's a lot of hot air!

That’s a lot of hot air!


Well, I say completed but now it’s all about the tweaking to insure optimal shelving, duckweed density per shelf, wind flow, and a host of little adds like real aluminum framed doors instead of a 2 by 4’s shoved against the bottom of sheets of plastic.

It’s rained heavily nearly every day for two weeks. This has wreaked havoc with my drying goals. For one thing, I hadn’t counted on major leaks where the segments join. Then the overcast days were not giving me the 170 degrees F temps that I was counting on in August.  (in the tunnel portion) It’s been more like 135 degrees and 100% humidity. Can’t move the air fast enough to overcome the humidity it seems.

What I love about it is that it IS 135 degrees even with the heavy cloud cover. Imagine what it’ll be like in there when the temps get to really ramping up. I can probably dry out a batch in 4 hours. SUNSHINE- where are you????!!!!

I fell again, this time climbing out of a new (to me) jon boat on Pond 2. I hit my elbow on a rock. I didn’t break my elbow but it hurt like crazy, bled a lot and swelled up immediately to the size of an egg. , I searched through one foot deep duckweed-loaded water for fifteen minutes one-handed, hunting for my glasses that had slipped off during the fall.  Suddenly I found them perched high above my line of vision hanging off the top branch of a bush along the shoreline.  Funny how the simplest good thing makes everything seem better. I quit feeling sorry for myself and went on to harvest 300 pounds of fresh duckweed and got it in the dryer before I quit for the day.

Four days later, my elbow is black and blue probably the size of a grapefruit but the soreness is quickly receeding.  Can hardly wait to get health insurance again. Cannot afford another hospital bill.

BTW: I’ve been on a vegan diet for two months now. Am enjoying so much (and losing weight) that I’ll stay on it indefinitely. I still eat pizza, ice cream, and chocolate- my vices but how I love them! I rarely need to take naps any more and have lots of energy. All these years of trying to diet by willpower, only to rebound every time. I eat so much every day, my jaw drops when I weigh myself and see that I’ve lost another pound or two. Wow! My kind of diet!!!



9 Comments leave one →
  1. Anonymous permalink
    June 5, 2015 7:50 pm

    Sweet idea. It’s something that I’m looking at to feed my tilapia and chickens. I’ve never eaten healthier in my life than I have since I went Paleo. Now I’m working on making most of my own food.


  2. December 17, 2013 8:15 am

    So ..At long last ,You have tasted the pleasures of Vegan Life ….in pics Tamra you don’t look to need to shed some Xtra kilos…if you are really serious and earnest about it pls try a small bite of Kachi ie Raw Curucuma Longa called Haldi ,indian curry spice-rhizome Ginger look alike which is easy to grow in any sandy soil..try this and if need be I can send over to you the organic planting rhizomes from India


  3. Susan Munroe permalink
    September 11, 2013 12:58 am

    How is the drying coming along? Is the solar dryer working as you anticipated?



    • September 11, 2013 7:52 am

      HI Sue,
      I’m up to 50% capacity of my original design. I’d need to add more racks and right now, am consumed with fine-tuning a de-watering conveyor so I improve efficiencies on that end. Plus, am getting ready for our open nouse this Saturday. Wish you lived closer so you could come visit!


  4. florentberthet permalink
    August 12, 2013 1:23 pm

    Nice, and good job with going vegan! Switching to gluten-free vegan was one of the best choice of my life.


    • August 21, 2013 9:29 pm

      Florent, didn’t know you were vegan, much less gluten-free. I’ve cut way down on wheat but due to my pizza addiction, will never cut em out entirely unless forced to. I know that I am really adjusting to this way of life because I found myself drooling over a salad display in a restaurant. It was only lettuce and tomatoes but I WANTED it. Surreal.


      • August 22, 2013 2:45 am

        Yeah, it’s crazy how the body gets used to food, and how it learns to crave what we eat on a regular basis (whether good or bad).

        I used to follow a terrible diet, like taking two breakfasts a day (one in the morning and one at lunch), with only one “normal” meal in the evening. I was very into sugary stuff. Yet, now I am way more satisfied with my daily meals: a big indian-ish meal of lentils, onions, olive oil, mustard, garlic, carrots, broccoli, spinach, potatoes, cabbage, tomato juice, lots of curry and other spices. It’s really easy to make (fry the onions in olive oil, then just throw everything in a pressure cooker), and I have several days worth of goodness for just 30 minutes of preparation.

        It’s very complete and well balanced on a micronutrient level (I used to check for the right quantities needed for optimal health). I also spend less money on groceries. And since it’s low in calories, i can afford to eat fruits, nuts, and 50 g of 85% chocolate per day and stay very lean (dark chocolate is awesome for health).

        What more to want? 🙂


  5. Susan Munroe permalink
    August 11, 2013 6:20 pm

    Looks good, Tam… except… where is the air intake? On the opposite site from where the camera is positioned? Is the the tall thing on the far end the exhaust chimney? I don’t think the humidity inside should be 100%……. It sounds like the air isn’t moving fast enough, and the duckweed might mold before it dries.

    Have you ever read Solviva by Anna Edey? She found an old article (1881) by E.S. Morse on making a solar heater, and set out to test it. The air coming in was 32F, the air coming out was 110F, so she grabbed a fan and used it to pull the air faster through the solar heater because she thought she was going to set the barn on fire. Very interesting book!

    Good work on the diet!



    • August 11, 2013 10:03 pm

      The split plastic door at the far right in the pic is the intake. My fan is not strong enough to push the air all the way through the tunnel and shelves of duckweed. It’s one of the things I am tweaking. The air inside is quite humid stil as the rains have been ungodly lately. TRUSSTTTT me on that one. 🙂 The ground is super saturated everywhere and I am begining to worry about getting stuck just trying to reach my ponds.
      I hadn’t read Solviva but it sounds fascinating.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: