Key outcomes

  • Throughput maximised
  • Energy costs reduced

Production of the dried meat of coconuts, known as copra, is a key industry in many coconut-producing countries. The coconut meat is dried, the oil is extracted, and the dried copra is often sold as livestock feed. The end product is relatively low value so an efficient drying process is critical to achieving profitable operations.

Copra dryer nearing the end of construction

Figure 1: The final design nearing 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. Hot air is generated using waste heat from a diesel generator and used to dry the copra. A well-mixed feed maximises the contact between the hot air and the copra to enhance heat transfer and result 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.

Air flow pahtlines in a COPRA dryer

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