PERFORMANCE EVALUATION OF A COMPOSITE-PADDED EVAPORATIVE COOLING STORAGE BIN
In tropical regions, postharvest losses of fruits and vegetables induced by high temperatures is a major challenge to agriculture, especially in places with poor or no electric power supply. The present study is on the comparative performance evaluation of a 92kg capacity storage bin for the preservation of fruits and vegetables, operating on the principle of evaporative cooling. A 24V DC, 0.37kW fan attached to the back of the cooler serves to blow in cooling air. The average temperature drop and saturation efficiency in the evaporative cooler during the no-load test were 5°C and 42%, respectively. The facility was able to sustain tomatoes, garden eggs and carrots stored in it for ten days. The weight losses at ambient temperature were found to be 70%, 30%and 45% for tomatoes, garden eggs and carrots, respectively; while those stored at cooler temperature were10%, 25%, and 40% for tomatoes, garden eggs and carrots respectively. The evaporative cooler performed best for storage of tomatoes.