Uzbekistan: Solar and biomass dryer at Marap

by Redaktion (comments: 0)

In collaboration with and help from ADA (Austria Development Agency), the company Marap HandelsgmbH from Vienna has designed and constructed the world’s largest carbon neutral solar and biomass dryer system (picture) on the operating site of the company Silk Road Organic Foods, a 100 % subsidiary of Marap in Samarkand, Uzbekistan. The first part, consisting of the solar system, was assembled and constructed in record time and was successfully put to use in June of this year. With this new solar drying system and associated doubling of previous drying output in Uzbekistan, Marap is now in the position to process its increased output of fresh fruits and vegetables, which are obtained from Marap’s own farms, from the Fairtrade farmer’s group from Turkiston Gulba, as well as from the widespread wild collection areas.

Since Uzbekistan has more than 300 sunny days in a year, a decision was made in favour of significantly higher investment cost for this solar-operated drying system, which later runs basically without operating costs. In addition, a solar-operated drying system fits better in the organic notion than a system which is operated with gas and electricity. The company Marap has decided to invest into a continuous drying concept in the form of a tunnel dryer, which consists of many individual parts in order to ensure batch by batch drying and thereby guarantees 100 % traceability of the products dried. In this way, even small batches of the Fairtrade small-scale farmers can also be separately dried.

The huge variety of organic dried fruit consisting of cherries (sweet, sour, gold), berries (mulberries, sea buckthorn, goji Berries, berberries, strawberries, elderberries, currants, raspberries, gooseberries), raisins (brown, green, black), melons (sugar, honey and watermelons), jujube red date berries, pomegranate, kaki, Nashi pears, quinces, wild apricots and plums, apples as well a number of high quality dried vegetables such as zucchinis, tomatoes, egg-plants, carrots, parsley and more can now be constantly extended. A further extremely positive effect is that more small-scale farmers from the Fairtrade famer’s group can be locally hired and their organic fruits as well as vegetables can be purchased at a fair price by Silk Road Organic Foods.

With the implementation of the second part of the drying system, consisting of a „biomass recycling burner system” in the autumn of this year, Marap will then be in the position to dry its organic raw materials even during nights or with bad weather by obtaining energy in form of warm air, independently of the local energy supplying system or weather. The agricultural waste and side products generated during the fruit and nut processing, such as shells of nut and seeds and fruit stones, can be utilized for the dryer system.

Marap pays great attention on building know-how for future projects. Small-scale handicraft enterprises in the region around Samarkand, where Silk Road Organic Foods is situated, have taken an active part in setting up the plant. The technological know-how of this pilot project is further passed on to local installation companies with the hope that more similar energy-saving projects can be realized in the near future and in this way a small but long-term contribution can be made to protect the climate.

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