Ventilated drying

Ventilated drying

If there is one thing that I hope to know more about than anyone else in the world at the end of my PhD, it is how air moves through sugar beet clamps, and how this air movement impacts the quality of the beets over time. To this end, one of the major research trials I’ll run is to ventilate beets under controlled conditions.

Fortunately for me, neither NBR nor SLU had the equipment to do this at the scale I want. SLU does have an awesome Biotron, but my project is a bit large, a bit dirty, and a bit too long to fit with their program and our costs. And yes, I did say ‘fortunately’. Fortunate because it meant I got to build the equipment, which was, well, fun. The design is largely based on an air-seeder, with one primary and three secondary distributors. The fan you see in the photos below actually sits in the refrigerated shipping container. All the boxes sit behind the plastic wall you can see so that the air can be re-circulated (to maintain temperature). This is it:

For information on the research design and the results, you’re just going to have to wait. I’ve got another year of trials to run, so I don’t want to give it all away now. But the early results are pretty cool.

I have a number of people I need to thank for their help:

  • NBR for the funding and faith
  • Joakim Ekelöf for the many discussion on research design, equipment design, lending me his shipping container, lending me his nail gun (invaluable!), etc
  • Hushållningssällskapet for their patience while I took up space and made a mess in their machinery shed, for their discussions on design, and for all their help in moving around the equipment and in running the first year of experiments.
  • Nordic Sugar and Anders Rydén for all the boxes,
  • Frabil for the quality regulator,
  • FarmMac for the quality fan,
  • Ben Polmear for the quality wiring-in of the quality regulator to the quality fan,
  • My dad for the help with construction,
  • I must also thank the Nordic Sugar staff at the tare-house at Örtofta for not throwing my samples in the bin when they arrived unannounced.

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