Technical and Experimental Study of the Solar Dehydration of the Moringa Leaf and Its Potential Integration to the Sustainable Agricultural Industry
Energy saving and environmental impact are two elements that must be considered in any sustainable process or proposal aimed at economic, social and cultural development. Moringa is a plant that has generated great interest in recent years due to its medicinal properties attributed, its leaves are an important source of food due to its high nutritional value. The plant is also used in traditional kitchens and medicinal remedies in various regions of the world. This work presents the characteristics of the dehydration of Moringa leaves using a solar dryer type greenhouse, open sun and electric oven. The tests were carried out at the Facultad de Ingeniería of the Universidad Autónoma de Campeche, in Campeche, México, located at 19º51'00" north latitude and 90º31'59" west longitude, with a warm-humid climate, average values of solar irradiation of 980 W/m2. The best drying time was obtained in the greenhouse dryer, reaching up to 59 ºC inside the drying chamber and with average drying times of 4 hours. The percentage of moisture in fresh and dry moringa leaves on average was measured at 82.29 and 4.09, respectively. The results show the technical feasibility of the solar drying of the moringa leaf guaranteeing a final product of quality and an important energy economy.
Keywords: Solar drying, Dehydration of moringa leaf, greenhouse solar dryer, drying chamber, solar drying kinetics