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Solar food dehydrator

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Difficulty (?)
Duration (?)3h 0 min.
Cost (?)~15 CHF
Languagefrançais english
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Solar energy is commonly used to produce hot water or electricity for our buildings. Another, lesser known use is for drying food.

This technology allows fruit, vegetables, fish or meat to be dried without the use of fossil fuels and pollutants. With less moisture, food can be stored for long periods and thus be available out of season.


Food preservation is a particularly important issue in the third world where cooling systems are scarce and electricity supply unreliable. The use of local, low-cost, renewable energy is an extremely clever solution for these countries.


There are different models of solar dehydrators.

  • Natural solar dryers expose food directly to the sun on a mat or on the sand.
  • Direct solar dryers expose the food in a glass box.
  • Indirect solar dryers use a glass box but dry the food seperatly with no direct sun.

In the first two cases, there is a risk of overheating and food degradation, including the destruction of vitamins A and C by direct sunlight.


This project uses instead the indirect solar dryer technology. Although more complex to build, it offers many advantages:

  • products are protected from external damage
  • vitamins are preserved because food is not exposed to direct sunlight
  • air flow is better controlled
  • drying is quicker.

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Cut out 4 large holes in the small sides of the small cardboard.   You can use a piece ...
Glue a sheet of aluminum to the bottom of the cardboard with white glue. Spray the inside with b ...
Build with some cardboard 4 supports for the glass and staple them in the middle of the 4 inner ...
Remove the 3 flaps of one side of the large cardboard leaving one of the large flaps untouched. ...
Tilt the cardboard box forward.   Cut a hole on top corresponding to the diameter of the chimn ...
Attach the 'drawer' in place by stapling it to the two small lower flaps.   Cut out the excess ...
Place the glass on the 'drawer' supports and fix everything with large adhesive tape and without ...
Depending on the size of the cardboard, cut  6 pieces of insulation to isolate the box (except t ...
Cut an insulation board the size of the rear opening. Push it in place and stick the flap on it ...
On top, insert and glue the chimney. It must go 2cm inside.   A hot air adjustment disc can be ...
Fix 4 drawing pins in the side walls in the middle of the oven.   As a tray, put on top of the ...

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