Sun Inspires AAM Engineering Students to Design Food Security Device

1 week

Five innovative Engineering students from the HCT-Al Ain Men’s campus (AAM) have used solar power as inspiration for developing a food-drying device to help improve the shelf-life of certain perishable food items.

The students leveraged the concept that traditionally food was laid out on mats and sheets to dry, and to preserve its goodness and make it storable for consumption out of season.  UAE also imports many dried foods, nuts and spices from other countries to meet the consumer demand.

This students’ solar-powered device circulates atmospheric air through a series of pipes, heating it up to temperatures at which trays of food can be dried and preserved for consumption.  The air flow is assisted by a fan and the humidity is also carefully monitored.As a result the team successfully dried fruits, spices, fresh meat and fish and vegetables.

The device is made of carefully selected materials which meet the functional requirements and also easily available locally.  The device can store solar energy in batteries and be operated 24 hours a day.  Repeat tests have been done on foods, showing that the amount of moisture in foods can be reduced to match those available in stores as dried food.  The device makes the drying of food more hygienic and the quality consistent and suitable for marketing.

The students’ motivation was based on countries’ desires to become more independent and self-reliant.  Food security is directly related to the economic success and independence of a country.

Hence, a food drying device which could be commercialized would enable UAE farmers to dry locally produced foods and offer them in the market to customers.  They can also reduce the amount of imported foods (e.g. spices, dried meats, etc) and improve the quality and consistency of locally dried foods.

 

The students, and their mentor are:

Dr. Rehana Ishaq
1 H00278673 Abdulla Mansour Ahmed Saeed Alkaabi
2 H00278588 Abdulla Salem Saeed Mohammed Alghaithi
3 H00278672 Ahmed Rashed Juma Rashed Alkaabi
4 H00268740 Eisa Mohammed Abdulla Saeed Alghaithi
5 H00278587 Sultan Juma Murad Abdulla Albloushi