Peace Corps conducted a survey in Uganda which showed that food wastage is about fifty percentage. If there is food getting wasted on one end, there are millions dying in the world from hunger and poverty. A group of NU students found the best solution to combat this – the Solar Fooddryer. The team consisted of students Brian Arena, Nicholas Daggett, Andrew Gawla and Joshua Gomes who was supervised by professor Mohammad Taslim from the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering department of Northeastern University.
The principle they use is very simple. It is the water content in food particles that cause its rotting. Removing this would combat the problem as well. While most dryers found commonly are unidirectional, their dryer stands out because of its omnidirectional property. It makes use of the sun from every angle. Further, the air flows naturally on the surface of the items during the drying process. This is another unique feature. It has other added advantages like being collapsible, lightweight, and portability. The cost of the design is only $40. This ensures its easy accessibility.
A product like this is the need of the hour. “We’ve been in touch with the Peace Corps and hope to see the dryer produced and sent to developing nations,” said Gawlak. “A product like this could help ensure that produce is not going to waste due to spoilage.” It hopes to take care of the food wastage problems our world is facing. How successful this is going to be, only its proper distribution can tell us. Northeastern University’s technology and commercialisation teams are working hard to ensure that the team’s hard work does not go in vain and that this reaches out to the ones in need of it. We should wait and watch to know the results.
N Malavika Mohan