Introduction of Solar Drying Technology to Trinidad and Tobago


A review of the existing solids management practices in Trinidad and Tobago and experience elsewhere defined the future needs and identified solar drying as a preferred technology for the subject project. Upon analysis of the local conditions, it was calculated that approximately 19 MJ/m2 (1886 kWh/m²) of solar radiation, at 30ºC annual average temperature and 80% relative humidity level is appropriate at the project site and that these parameters are adequate for the solar dryer application. The estimated 7,450 m2 cell area for drying associated with average electrical power consumption of 18 to 20 kWh/tonne of water extracted will provide an evaporation rate of 2.2 kg water/ The solids are expected to be dried from approximately 16-18% dry solids to 70-90% dry solids.

solar drying, solids, evaporation, stabilization, greenhouse, vector control.

As the wastewater treatment systems are improving in Trinidad and Tobago, the rapid increase in solids production from these systems is triggering the need for better solids management systems. Due to technical, economical and social factors, a tailored approach to get an optimal solids management solution is required. In most cases, implementing the traditional highly complex solids management solutions with heavy reliance on energy, chemicals and operational expertise is not likely a viable solution.

Solar drying has become a more versatile process with the development of solids mixing equipments, emission control and additional heating systems in recent years (Luboschik, 1998). Since 1994, automated solar drying using greenhouse technology has been successfully applied in Europe. More recently there have been a number of new installations in Australia and the United States. Some of the commercially available solar drying systems are Parkson’s Thermo-System™, ist’s WendeWolf ™, and Huber’s Kult™. The largest installation cited at the time of compilation of this paper is for treating solids from a 150 ML/d wastewater treatment plant.

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