Solar drying technology for lumber and food items in Ghana
The overall project is a contribution to the development of Cleaner Production Technologies in developing countries. The main aim is to create access to environmentally friendly, simple to handle, solar powered technology for drying food and materials of all kinds for small and medium sized enterprises in Ghana. The project is being discussed with the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) to serve as donor. The main partner in Ghana is the Forestry Research Institute of Ghana (FORIG), which has been involved in dry kiln research since1980s and is, thus, an ideal partner.
The general project consists of three phases:
Phase 1: Adaptation of existing solar dry kiln technology for wood (original project in Bolivia, Espinoza et al. 2007, Espinoza 2006) for Ghana, development and creation of test dry kiln for further development of the technology
Phase 2: Continuing development of the drying technology for food items from Ghana’s food industry, development and construction of test kilns, development of construction and operating manuals
Phase 3: Development of business model and creation of marketing tools for the widespread distribution and the adoption of the technology by KMUs in Ghana (concurrently to phases 1 and 2).
The kick-starting grant applied for herewith, enables important face-to-face meetings serving the preparation of the overall project. This meeting helped discuss and decide upon critically important technical, methodical, and organizational matters. The visits to Ghana served the acquisition of fundamental information as well as the needs assessment of stakeholders of the various local industries.
Purpose is achievement of the following technical, methodical and organizational objectives:
- review of the existing knowledge of solar drying technologies globally
- assemblage of all information and insights by the participating researchers
- visit of and connecting with institutions in Switzerland with special insights on subjects relevant for solar kiln drying as well as food drying
- visit of selected experts and laboratories of University of Applied Sciences Bern (BFH)
- discussion, evaluation, and selection of the most appropriate research methods
- definition of the project set-up and
- establishment of working and communication protocols for the entire project team
The visit of the head researchers from BFH to Ghana is used to
- industry needs assessment
- establish contacts with other research institutions and governmental representatives in Ghana working in areas related to the project
- explore opportunities for collaboration with the industry in Ghana
- conduct exploratory investment analysis
- explore distribution and marketing channels for solar dry kilns and
- finalize the research proposal for UNIDO in collaboration with experts in Ghana.