Spice powder making has emerged as a lucrative business in the last two decades due to emerging demand from the vast Indian population living in overseas as well as change in life style of middle class families in the country. These factories use fossil fuels like firewood, electrical, or petroleum products for drying the spices. Drying is very critical for grinding them into a nice powder.
By using solar pre heated air at 60 to 95 Deg C (depending upon the solar radiation) the firewood consumption for the Drier could be reduced.
The solar heating unit saves furnace oil around 50 to 60%.
The system doesn’t need big maintance except cleaning of glass which takes two hours of two workers for every week.
The switching over from solar heating to conventional heating during rainy day is very easy. In nutshell the working of the system is satisfactory and it saves fuel consumption.
Two leading spices manufacturers in South India have adopted solar drying system for their spices drying (Chilies and seed spices) and the quality of grinded spices is good. Solar air heating projects in a spices factory near Theni and another one near Erode are successful in saving 65% to 75% of conventional fuel. The factory near Theni has adapted the solar heating projects twice in the past 14 years. Solar heating could also be employed for spices like pepper, chilies and others to bring down the moisture content to a level acceptable to the foreign buyers.
M/s.Eastern Condiments (P) Ltd.,
Theni M/s.Sakthi Masala (P) Ltd., Erode