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Solar-thermal driven drying technologies for large-scale industrial applications: State of the art, gaps, and opportunities

Kamfa, In'am
Fluch, Juergen
Bartali, Ruben
Baker, Derek Keıth
Research and Innovation (R&I) on Large-scale Industrial Solar-thermal driven Drying technologies (LISDs) is one of the strategies required to transition to a low-carbon energy future. The objective for this work is to guide future R&I on LISDs by defining the state of the art, gaps, and opportunities. To provide a high-level perspective on the current state of solar drying research, results are presented from an analysis of the content relevant to LISDs found in 45 solar drying Review Articles published in journals over the past 25 years. A conclusion is that most of the existing solar drying research is not focused on LISDs. To build-on these existing 45 solar drying Review Articles, results are presented from an analysis of 30 Original Research Articles with significant content relevant to LISDs published over the past 5 years. A gap is identified in coupling existing or slightly modified solar thermal collectors with existing or slightly modified industrial drying technologies to create indirect LISDs. To facilitate formulating new coupling strategies, the drying characteristics most relevant to this coupling are described and four fundamental classes of industrial dryer technologies are defined based on the underlying heat transfer mechanism, which then impacts the appropriate collector choice. At their most fundamental level, many of the technologies needed to couple solar collectors and industrial dryers to create novel indirect LISDs are not unique to indirect LISDs, but rather can be generalized across a wide range of Solar Heat for Industrial Processes (SHIP) applications, and integration issues are discussed at a more fundamental SHIP level. The technical and economic characteristics of 19 existing LISDs installations throughout the world are presented, and potential and emerging areas discussed.