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Solar-Hybrid Cold Energy Storage System Coupled with Cooling Pads Backup: A Step towards Decentralized Storage of Perishables

Munir, Anjum; Ashraf, Tallha; Amjad, Waseem; Ghafoor, Abdul; Rehman, Sidrah; Malik, Aman Ullah; Hensel, Oliver; Sultan, Muhammad; Morosuk, Tatiana

Post-harvest loss is a serious issue to address challenge of food security. A solar-grid hybrid cold storage system was developed and designed for on-farm preservation of perishables. Computational Fluid Dynamic analysis was performed to assess airflow and temperature distribution inside the cold chamber. The system comprises a 21.84 m3 cubical cold storage unit with storage capacity of 2 tonnes. A hybrid solar system comprising 4.5 kWp PV system, 5 kW hybrid inverter, and 600 Ah battery bank was used to power the entire system. A vapor-compression refrigeration system (2 tonnes) was employed coupled with three cooling pads (filled with brine solution) as thermal backup to store cooling (−4 °C to 4 °C). Potatoes were stored at 8 °C for a period of three months (May 2019 to July 2019) and the system was tested on grid utility, solar, and hybrid modes. Solar irradiation was recorded in range of 5.0–6.0 kWh/(m2 × d) and average power peak was found to be 4.0 kW. Variable frequency drive was installed with compressor to eliminate the torque load and it resulted about 9.3 A AC current used by the system with 4.6 average Coefficient of Performance of refrigeration unit. The average energy consumed by system was found to be 15 kWh with a share of 4.3 kWh from grid and 10.5 kWh from solar, translating to 30% of power consumption from grid and 70% from solar PV modules. Overall, cold storage unit efficiently controlled total weight loss (7.64%) and preserved quality attributes (3.6 ⁰Brix Total soluble solids, 0.83% Titratable acidity, 6.32 PH) of the product during storage time.
Published in: Energies, 10.3390/en14227633, MDPI