Discovery Park Undergraduate Research Internship Program

"Combined Stove-Dryer Unit for Household Drying of Maize (Corn) in Rural Ghana "

About the Project

Project Time & Type:
Fall 2011 - DURI
Research area(s):
Grain Post-Harvest Technology
Project Description:
The primary goal of this effort is to test a low-cost grain dryer integrated into an energy efficient cooking stove for simultaneous cooking and drying of maize. Almost all small-scale farmers in the maize growing region of Ghana depend on solar drying of their maize crops upon harvest. However, frequent daily rainfall and cloudy humid days are very common when maize crop is harvested in August. This means farmers can not dry high moisture maize to sufficiently low moisture contents (below 13% wet basis) in order to avoid spoilage and aflatoxin contamination. Improperly dried grain is a major cause for post-harvest losses and aflatoxin contamination in maize in this region. Furthermore, the humid and warm weather conditions at the time of harvest favor mold growth, and become a major challenge for storing maize grain which has not been dried properly. The best and cheapest when to control PHL and aflatoxin is my drying grain immediately after harvest to a safe moisture (below 12%) favorable to long-term storage.
Expected Student Contributions:
In order to achieve the goals, the following specific objectives will be pursued: 1. Investigate best strategies for drying corn (shelled and unshelled) from 30% to 12% using the stove-dryer prototype. 2. Use data from Objective 1 to develop operational and design parameters for stove-dryer unit. 3. Evaluate stove-dryer prototype and dryer optimization via modeling and analysis of operational data The research intern will be required to study and learn the fundamentals of grain drying and storage and the performance of different fuel types. Activities to be learned as part of this project include conducting a literature search, drafting a research protocol and executing the protocol (data collection, analysis, report writing and poster presentation). In addition to the faculty mentor, Dr. Ileleji, a graduate student mentor, JD McClurkin will advise the student through the fall internship experience. The following outputs will be expected upon completion of project: • Provide data of stove-dryer prototype testing and operation. • Monitor prototype operation to determine the thermal efficiency of dryer using three fuel types (corn cobs, rice husk and wood). • Developed a strategy for drying corn during cooking operations and only drying mode operations using stove-dryer prototype. • Document testing and propose further improvements on the prototype and testing process. The student would learn about the importance of food security in Africa, challenges faced by farmers and opportunities to improve human health and welfare through the efficient utilization of energy in cooking and crop drying operations, especially post-harvest operations of grain.
Related Website(s):
Desired Qualifications:
3.0 GPA minimum, ABE, ME and interest in development work
Estimated Weekly Hours:
Department awards independent research credits for this project?
Yes, 3 credit hours

Professor in Charge

Ileleji, Klein
agricultural and biological engineering

Student Supervisor

Klein Ileleji
Associate Professor & Extension Engineer

Cooperating Faculty

Corinne Alexander
Agricultural Economics
Titilayo Okoror
Health and Kinesiology