Effect of rotors on the parameters of hop drying in belt dryers
Czech University of Life Sciences Prague, Faculty of Engineering, Department of Agricultural Machines, Kamýcká 129, CZ165 00 Praha 6 – Suchdol, Czech Republic
This article contains a design and verification for a technical solution aimed at optimising the hop drying process in belt dryer and at increasing the quality of the final product. Above the first belt of our belt dryer two evenly distributed double-arm rotors were installed and tested in operation to improve the permeability of the drying air through a flattened hop layer, as well as to improve the speed of drying. The measurements carried out in operation and comparing the drying process with the rotors switched on and off concluded that by inclusion of rotors the hop layer becomes more permeable, and when switched on, the rotors have a positive effect on faster reduction of the relative humidity and on increase of the drying air temperature. With rotors switched on, the percentage drop in the drying air relative humidity at the third inspection window of the first belt, compared to the first inspection window, was 41% on average (values obtained from data loggers and fixed sensors), the drying air temperature increased by 29%, and the hop moisture content decreased by 12%. Whereas with rotors switched off, the drop in the drying air relative humidity was only by 26% on average, the drying air temperature increased only by 14%, and the hop moisture content decreased by 12%. Based on long-term monitoring of fuel consumption during the whole harvesting season starting 2011 until 2017 inclusive, the average annual consumption of LFO (2011–2014) results in 494 L t-1 operating without rotors, and 431 L t-1 when operating with rotors (2015–2017). This implies that due to the implementation of rotors, the fuel saving being 13% is significant.