Low-cost inorganic phase change material improves the storage conditions of on-farm storage chamber


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Efficacy of low-cost inorganic phase change material (PCM) in improving storage conditions of on-farm storage chamber was investigated. Before fabrication, thermal analysis of chamber was conducted using ANSYS (2021 R2). Results indicated that PCM proved its potentiality to maintain inside temperature. After thermal analysis, prototype of chamber was fabricated with outer and inner dimensions as 450 mmx 360 mm x 360 mm and 330 mm x 250 mm x 250 mm, respectively. PCM requirement, determined through one-dimensional heat transfer analysis, was found as 2.41 kg. Subsequently, low-cost, inorganic PCM was prepared from inorganic salt of Na2SO4 center dot NaCl center dot 10H(2)O in proportion of 37:16:47 and packed in pouches. On-farm experiments were conducted to evaluate efficacy of experimental PCM under three cases, no-PCM, with-PCM no-load, and with-PCM full-load. In third case, 14 kg vegetables were kept inside chamber as well as same quantity was kept outside the chamber. Results evidenced that PCM improved storage conditions, in terms of lower temperature (21.5-30.5 degrees C) and increased RH (71.9%-88.6%), of chamber. Vegetables kept outside showed drastic weight loss (up to 80%), while that within chamber had meager losses (up to 10%). Thus, study concluded that low-cost inorganic PCM is effective in improving storage conditions of on-farm storage chamber and reduce weight loss of stored produce.Practical applicationsOn-farm storage/transit-storage/precooling of perishable commodities, such as fruits and vegetables is very important in order to reduce the postharvest losses of these commodities. Storage conditions comprising of low temperature and high humidity are capable of reducing the losses to large extent. However, attaining these conditions in on-farm storage structures is cost intensive and cannot be afforded by large number of fruit-vegetable growers of the developing countries. In this context, findings of present study would be useful in designing and developing the low-cost PCM based on-farm cold storage rooms/structures that would serve the purpose of reducing the postharvest losses.
low-cost,on-farm,PCM,storage,thermal analysis,weight loss
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