Sustainability and 4E analysis of novel solar photovoltaic-thermal solar dryer under forced and natural convection drying

Ankur Gupta, Biplab Das, Agnimita Biswas, Jayanta Mondol

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Developing a sustainable photovoltaic-thermal (PVT) solar drying system is essential to maintain zero carbon emission in the drying process. This work represents the drying of star fruit in a novel PVT solar dryer to analyze the sustainability indicators based on the energy and exergy performance with the environmental and economic evaluation (4E) under forced convection drying (FCD) and natural con-vection drying (NCD). The moisture content of star fruit in the PVT solar dryer is decreased from 10.11 (d b) to 0.19 (d b.) in 12.50 h and 14.50 h under FCD and NCD, respectively. The same has been obtained in open sun conditions with a drying time of 22.00 h. The PVT energy and exergy efficiencies are 69.27% and 31.12% in FCD mode, respectively, and 43.58% and 17.89% in NCD mode. The drying efficiency of 15.27% and 13.98%, specific moisture extraction rate of 0.1786 kg/kWh and 0.6657 kg/kWh, and specific energy consumption of 12.37 kWh/kg and 3.57 kWh/kg are evaluated in FCD and NCD modes, respectively. The drying system payback time is 1.40 yr and 1.70 yr in FCD and NCD mode, respectively.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1008-1021
Number of pages14
JournalRenewable Energy
Early online date28 Feb 2022
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 30 Apr 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The different components of the prototype PVT collector integrated solar dryer system is shown in Fig. 1(a). The experimental system is comprised of two glass-to-glass semi-transparent PV modules, a PVT air collector box, a dryer cabin, two DC fans, and MS stand for supporting the structure. Each 125 Wp PV module generates electrical energy and transmits thermal energy in the PVT air collector box. Two 12 V and 0.75A DC fans are used in the PVT solar dryer to force the air in the dryer cabin from the PVT air collector box. A corrugated absorber sheet (0.001 m thick) made up of aluminum with black paint is utilized to enhance heat transfer in the PVT solar dryer. The four drying trays (0.75 m ? 0.65 m) made of aluminum mesh and wood are attached to the dryer cabin to dry the products. The wooden material is chosen for manufacturing the system due to its high insulating capacity. The dryer cabin (0.80 m ? 0.70 m ? 1.00 m) and PVT air collector box (1.95 m ? 0.98 m ? 0.12 m) are insulated with a thickness of 0.025 m polyurethane foam to resist the heat transmission losses.The authors sincerely thank SERB, India, for supporting this research work and NIT Silchar, India, availing of the institute's facilities.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 Elsevier Ltd


  • Photovoltaic-thermal solar dryer
  • Star fruit drying
  • Natural and forced convection
  • Sustainable analysis
  • Energy and exergy analysis
  • Sustainability analysis


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