Mexico, Dec. 21 (Notimex).- Members of the Institute of Engineering Desalination and Alternative Energy (iiDEA, for its acronym in Spanish), under the UNAM, created the first geothermal food dehydrator.
It is useful for processing fruits such as pineapple, mango or avocado, and any other type of food such as chili, alfalfa, and even meat, and is able to obtain 600 kilograms of product per day.
Due to the lack of storage capacity, among other situations, around 40 percent of food is wasted in Mexico; 20.4 million tons per year, according to figures from the report Losses and waste of food in Mexico, prepared by the World Bank.
The prototype will soon be installed in a geothermoelectric field located in the municipality of San Pedro Lagunillas, Nayarit, where it has the capacity to generate 35 MW in a 25 MW condensation system, and two at a back pressure of 5 MW each.
In this agricultural area, the hot water wells that generate electricity still have an energetic remnant that will be used to dehydrate food.
Through the use of geothermal energy (the heat of the planet), water is extracted from food without altering its nutrients and other properties.
The goal is to avoid waste and export them to the United States and Europe, said the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM, for its acronym in Spanish) in a statement.
With the dehydrator it is possible to praise the life time of the products through a process friendly to the environment, while it is given a new use to geothermal, abundant energy resource of the country.
This was stated by the researcher of the Institute of Engineering and member of the group, Héctor Miguel Aviña Jiménez, and the general manager of PI INGENERA, Daniel González Orellana.
Aviña Jiménez highlighted the waste of 40 percent of the food in the country, because there is not enough capacity to store the products, nor to transform, for example, an excessive harvest of fruit in juices, jams or dehydrated product.
With this project it is hoped to propitiate the economic development of the place, because the producers will not have to sell quickly their crops to avoid that they spoil.
"Not only will the losses decrease, but there will be between 60 and 70 direct jobs, and an equal number of indirect jobs.
The prototype developed by university students is capable of dehydrating 600 kilograms a day, equivalent to six tons of fresh product.
With the loss of weight it is easier to transport them to where they are required, besides they no longer need refrigeration.
Aviña Jiménez clarified that in Mexico and the world there are dehydrators that work with gas and solar energy, but the geothermal has the advantage that it works 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, and is not interrupted by factors such as cloudiness.
He also stressed that energy is not only constant, but clean, compared to gas, whose combustion generates pollutants.