報告題目：Value-added solar drying of specialty crops for small and medium growers
報 告 人：Dr. Klein Ileleji，Professor & Extension Engineer，Purdue University
Dr. Klein Ileleji is a Professor and Extension Engineer in Agricultural and Biological Engineering at Purdue University. Dr. Ileleji's research focus and interest at Purdue University are in the areas of biomass feedstock systems engineering, powder technology and grain post-harvest technology. He teaches Biomass Feedstock Systems Engineering (ABE591K) and previously taught Electric Power and Controls (ASM420) for 6 years. Dr. Ileleji also leads both the renewable energy and grain post-harvest extension efforts at Purdue University. He is a 24-year member of the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE) and a 11-year member of the Grain Elevators and Processing Society (GEAPS). He has extensive international experience in Africa, Central and Eastern Europe, Latin America and China. His activities can be found at https://engineering.purdue.edu/~biomass/index.html and www.grainquality.org. He is leading postharvest activities of the Feed the Future for Food Processing and Post-Harvest Handling Innovation Lab in Kenya and Senegal (https://ag.purdue.edu/ipia/fpl) and a USAID/USDA-FAS funded capacity building effort in stored commodity management in Nigeria. He is also the co-founder, CEO and CTO of JUA Technologies International, a start-up company incubated at Purdue Foundry developing solar dehydration and power technologies for small and medium growers.
Value-added solar drying of specialty crops for small and medium growers
Value addition of sun dried fruits and vegetables from specialty crops is a growing trend in the healthy foods industry. The global demand for specialty crops is over $180 billion USD. Small and medium sized growers are well placed to meet the growing demand for dried fruits and nuts, especially in the local foods movement through farmers’ markets, which is a $12 billion industry in the US. However, most sun dried fruits and vegetables still use the traditional open sun-drying methods practiced by the majority of small growers globally. Drying of fruits and vegetables by open sun-drying is not the most effective way of harnessing solar energy for drying operations. This project focuses on exploring the feasibility of drying fruits and vegetables using solar dryers designed for optimum utilization of solar energy in a clean hygienic drying environment. We focus on specialty crops grown by small and medium growers in Indiana, Georgia and California. I would be presenting an overview of this USDA-NIFA small and medium size farms grant effort and our approach to developing an effective solution to this growing industry.