Models and experiments for energy consumption and quality of green tea drying
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An experimental apparatus has been developed to evaluate the drying process of green tea leaves. Tea drying is an energy-intensive process which results in the removal of leaf moisture; it is essential to the quality of the final product. In order to more efficiently use process energy, a prototype drying system has been built and tested. The prototype incorporates a rotating perforated drum which helps speed the drying process. Experiments were carried out with multiple temperatures, airflow rates, and drum rotation rates; a subset of those results is shown here. In particular, the impact of airflow rate on the process was studied. It was found that as the airflow increased, the drying rate increased, as expected. However, the efficiency of energy use, which was quantified by the Specific Energy Consumption rate, varied considerably with flow. While higher flows led to faster drying, it resulted in a lower energy efficiency. Also, a two parameter predictive model was developed that was able to accurately match the moisture removal rates for a very wide range of flows. This predictive model, which is based on thermal-fluid fundamentals, can be used to extrapolate the presented results to cases which were not considered.