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Key outcomes

  • Throughput maximised
  • Energy costs reduced

Many coconut-producing countries rely on the production of dried coconut meat, known as copra, as a key industry. They dry the coconut meat, extract the oil, and often sell the dried copra as livestock feed. The end product is relatively low value so an efficient drying process is critical to achieving profitable operations.

A large tubular steel copra dryer under construction.

Figure 1: The final design prior to the end of its construction process.

In this case study, Synergetics was approached to model a proposed copra dryer. The dryer consisted of a large, rotating drum fitted with blades to achieve an evenly mixed feed. Waste heat from a diesel generator generates the hot air used to dry the copra. A well-mixed feed maximizes the contact between the hot air and the copra, enhancing heat transfer and resulting in higher throughput.

Synergetics investigated a range of parameters for the dryer using CFD modelling to test the impact of different parameters. Analysing these results led to a suggested drum mixing blade pattern, rotational speed, air inlet flow rate and temperature. The specified dryer was then constructed and installed on site.

Coloured CFD simulated pathlines showing flow entering the drying chamber at high speed, swirling through the dryer, then exiting the opposite end.

Figure 2: Pathlines of airflow inside a copra dryer, coloured by speed.


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