The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently made a presentation about the usage of solar thermal as a food drying and processing technology.
In terms of industrial food processing, solar thermal and solar hot water are commonly at vineyards and wineries and breweries. However, they’re less known for food drying applications, such as drying raisins, apricots, and nuts.
This USDA presentation below explores the past, current, and future solar thermal food processing technology.
Some of the interesting take-aways:
- Middle Eastern and East Asian cultures were sun-drying foods as early as 12,000 BC!
- California’s food processing industry consumed over 6,800 million kilowatt hours of electricity in 2012 and consumed more than 600 million therms of natural gas in 2010.
- At the California League of Food Processors 2013 Expo, four of nine “hot topic” sessions on were on energy, water heating, CO2 emissions, or some combination of the three.
- The USDA is performing research on interfacing a solar thermal heating system with a drum dryer.
The 2013 presentation also included a partial list of industrial food companies already using solar thermal technologies for process heat. They include:
- Sunsweet for prune processing
- Keyawa Orchards for walnuts
- Frito Lay for its Sun Chips corn chips
View and download the entire presentation here:
Not only is the technology for solar industrial food processing available today, but so are incentives. California recently updated its CSI Thermal program to include solar process heat, giving food manufacturers up to $500,000 towards installing a solar thermal system. In addition, the 30% Federal Investment Tax Credit can also be applied to solar thermal installations, and new solar lease and PACE financing is available, as well.
Free Hot Water has worked with national solar thermal installers to design and engineer many innovative and cost-saving solar thermal systems for industrial food processing. For questions on how to design and finance a solar thermal installation for your food processing facility, please contact us.