The solar dehydrator – Preserving fruit sustainably

The solar dehydrator project was born in 2010 as part of the renewable energy work group created by community project Coín in Transition. The group was aware that there is a large amount of mature fruit that was not being collected in the fields and fincas of the rural area round Coín. This was a great waste not only because we are losing food that is at its peak of nutritional value but also a lost economic opportunity to use one of our local resources.

Dehydrating is the process of removing the water contained in food, so that molds, bacteria and viruses cannot develop as these require a certain amount of moisture to live and reproduce. There are many ways to dehydrate food, some can maintain the nutritional content almost intact and often accentuate the flavour, creating tasty food that can be stored for long periods of time without needing to provide more energy for their conservation.

At the same time it was important to use the energies that we had available in our environment, specifically solar and biomass. The project has evolved over three years, working with various prototypes. We have also conducted research on the process of dehydration itself, and with this experience we decided to go a step further, creating a large dehydrator to dry 100kg of fruit per day, a capacity that could potentially dry acres of fruit very quickly.

The dehydrator will be built at the house of Pepe Bravo in Alozaina, a social project with connections to the Escuela de solidaridad in Granada (see page 40) that offers shelter for high risk people, and also where artisans live and work on different projects in the various workshops at the centre. The project was presented to the director, Mariló, with the aim of setting goals and creating a source of income from the dehydrated products, as well as serving as a place for research and training in this method of dehydration. The project was well received and the idea of ‘crowdfunding’ was introduced as a means to fund the development of the dehydrator. A total of 7,967€ is the target to launch the project properly and people can fund it for any amount large or small. The aim is to generate a free and open source form of sustainable technology that can be replicated in other places.

Alvaro 650 964 997

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