Performance of a Solar Greenhouse Dryer for Water Hyacinth

Phatchareephon Niroka, Gunn Panprayun, Piangjai Peerakiatkhajohn


The development of new methods to utilize solar energy is critical to lower greenhouse gas emissions and provide sustainable livelihoods for small business owners in rural areas. Solar greenhouse dryers are simple and low-cost structures that can be modified for a variety of applications. This study evaluated the performance of a solar greenhouse dryer for drying water hyacinth. The solar dryer was established in Nakhon Pathom, Thailand and consisted of a parabolic roof structure covered with polycarbonate sheets. A ventilation system was designed using fans controlled by relative humidity sensors and powered by a solar panel. The drying system had an overall efficiency of 63% for 100 kg of fresh water hyacinth with a highest temperature of 59°C. In comparison with natural sun drying, the solar dryer produced more product in a shorter amount of time. In addition to regulating the climatic conditions, this solar greenhouse prevented insect infestation, and improved the product quality. The payback period was estimated to be about 1.5 months. This study can be used as a guideline to produce dried water hyacinth for cushioning material, or other products. Also, this solar dryer offers a promising solution for effective drying of other agricultural or food products.


Relative humidity sensor; Solar greenhouse dryer; Solar dryer performance; Ventilation system; Water hyacinth

Full Text:



Department of Alternative Energy Development and Efficiency., 2018. Final Report: Project to improve the solar potential map from satellite images for Thailand. Bangkok.

Chen X.D. and A. Putranto. 2013. Modelling drying processes: A reaction engineering approach. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Gunathilake D.M.C.C., Senanayaka D.P., Adiletta G., and Senadeera W., 2018. Drying of agricultural crops. In G. Chen, ed. Advances in Agricultural Machinery and Technologies. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press, pp. 331-365.

Janjai S., 2017. Solar Drying Technology. 1st ed. Bangkok: Phetkasem Printing Group Co,.Ltd.

Prakash O. and A. Kumar. 2020. Solar Drying Systems. 1st ed. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press.

Visavale G.L., 2012. Principles, classification and selection of solar dryers. In C.L. Hii, S.P. Ong, S.V. Jangam. and A.S. Mujumdar, eds. Solar drying: Fundamentals, Applications and Innovations. Singapore: TPR Group Publication, pp. 1-50.

Janjai S., Khamvongsa V., and Bala B., 2007. Development, design, and performance of a PV-ventilated greenhouse dryer. International Energy Journal 8(4): 249-258.

Bala B.K. and N. Debnath. 2012. Solar drying technology: Potentials and developments. Journal of Fundamentals of Renewable Energy and Applications 2: 1-5.

Ekechukwu O.V. and B. Norton. 1999. Review of solar-energy drying systems II: an overview of solar drying technology. Energy Conversion and Management 40(6): 615-655.

Janjai S. and B.K. Bala. 2012. Solar drying technology. Food Engineering Reviews 4(1): 16-54.

Prakash O. and A. Kumar. 2014. Solar greenhouse drying: A review. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews 29: 905-910.

Prakash O. and A. Kumar. eds. 2017. Solar drying technology: concept, design, testing, modeling, economics, and environment. Springer.

Tiwari G.N., Kumar S., and Prakash O., 2004. Evaluation of convective mass transfer coefficient during drying of jaggery. Journal of Food Engineering 63(2): 219-227.

Sharma A., Chen C.R., and Lan N.V., 2009. Solar-energy drying systems: A review. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews 13(6-7): 1185-1210.

Srinivasan G. and P. Muthukumar. 2021. A review on solar greenhouse dryer: Design, thermal modelling, energy, economic and environmental aspects. Solar Energy 229: 3-21.

Janjai S., Lamlert N. Intawee P., Mahayothee B., Bala B.K., Nagle M., and Muller J., 2009. Experimental and simulated performance of a PV-ventilated solar greenhouse dryer for drying of peeled longan and banana. Solar Energy 83(9): 1550-1565.

Kaewkiew J., Nabnean S., and Janjai S., 2012. Experimental investigation of the performance of a large-scale greenhouse type solar dryer for drying chilli in Thailand. Procedia Engineering 32: 433-439.

Intawee P. and S. Janjai. 2011. Performance evaluation of a large-scale polyethylene covered greenhouse solar dryer. International Energy Journal 12(1): 39-52.

Janjai S., Intawee P., Kaewkiew J., Sritus C., and Khamvongsa V., 2011. A large-scale solar greenhouse dryer using polycarbonate cover: Modeling and testing in a tropical environment of Lao People’s Democratic Republic. Renewable Energy 36(3): 1053-1062.

Janjai S., 2012. A greenhouse type solar dryer for small-scale dried food industries: Development and dissemination. International Journal of Energy and Environment 3(3): 383-398.

Tohsing K., Janjai S., Lamlert N., Mundpookhier T., Chanalert W., and Bala B., 2018. Experimental performance and artificial neural network modeling of solar drying of litchi in the parabolic greenhouse dryer. Journal of Renewable Energy and Smart Grid Technology 13(1): 83-95.

Hempattarasuwan P., Somsong P., Duangmal K., Jaskulski M., Adamiec J., and Srzednicki G., 2019. Performance evaluation of parabolic greenhouse-type solar dryer used for drying of cayenne pepper. Drying Technology 38(1-2): 48-54.

Pankaew P., Aumporn O., Janjai S., Mundpookhiew T., and Bala B.K., 2019. Performance of parabolic greenhouse solar dryer equipped with rice husk burning system for banana drying. Journal of Renewable Energy and Smart Grid Technology 14(1): 52-65.

Pankaew P., Aumporn O., Janjai S., Pattarapanitchai S., Sangsan M., and Bala B., 2020. Performance of a large-scale greenhouse solar dryer integrated with phase change material thermal storage system for drying of chili. International Journal of Green Energy 17(11): 632-643.

Gupta V., Gupta K.S., and Khare R., 2021. Experimental analysis for drying of potato slices on detachable solar greenhouse dryer. Materials Today: Proceedings 47: 6269-6273.

López-Ortiz A., Norman A.S., and Valladares O.G., 2021. Bioactive compounds conservation and energy-mass analysis in the solar greenhouse drying of blackberry pulps. Heat and Mass Transfer 57(8): 1347-1361.

El-Kashoty M.M., Khater E.S.G., Bahnasawy A.H., and Nagy K.S., 2020. Effect of temperature and air recirculating rate on the weight losses of mint under hybrid solar drying conditions. Misr Journal of Agricultural Engineering 37(4): 357-372.

Casas E.V., Raquid J.G., Yaptenco K.F., and Peralta E.K., 2012. Optimized drying parameters of water hyacinths (Eichhornia crassipes. L). Science Diliman 24(2): 28-49.

Mrema G.C., Gumbe L.O., Chepete H.J., and Agullo J.O., 2011. Rural structures in the tropics: Design and development. Rome: FAO.

Bala B.K., 2020. Agro-product Processing Technology: Principles and Practice. 1st ed. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press.

Mani P. and V. Thirumalai Natesan. 2021. Experimental investigation of drying characteristics of lima beans with passive and active mode greenhouse solar dryers. Journal of Food Process Engineering 44(5): 1-12.

Müller J. and A. Heindl. 2006. Drying of medicinal plants. In R. J. Bogers, L. E. Craker. and D. Lange, eds. Medicinal and Aromatic Plants. Netherlands: Springer, pp. 237-252.

Jareanjit J., 2012. A solar dryer technology and its development. KKU Research Journal 17(1): 110-124.

Boonyasri M., Lertsatitthanakorn C., Wiset L., and Poomsa-ad N., 2011. Performance analysis and economic evaluation of a greenhouse dryer for pork drying. Engineering and Applied Science Research 38(4): 433-442.