Rapid rice grain dryer picked as best invention
Dr. Romualdo Martinez (left) explains the fluidized bed technology he and his team had adopted to come up with a rapid grain dryer that won top prize in the National Invention Contest and Exhibit 2020 held recently at the SM Convention Center in SM Aura, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig City.
Rapid rice grain dryer picked as best invention
Rainier Allan Ronda (The Philippine Star) - March 15, 2020 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — A rapid rice grain dryer that uses hi-tech fluidized bed technology developed by engineers from the Department of Agriculture-Philippine Center for Postharvest Development and Mechanization was selected as this year’s best invention by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) at the National Invention Contest and Exhibit (NICE) 2020.

DA-PhilMech’s team, comprising of Romualdo Martinez, Reagan Pontawe, Roselyn Villacorte, and Nestor Asuncion, won a cash prize of P300,000 for coming up with a hi-tech fluidized bed technology to help the country’s rice farmers improve their productivity.

Aside from addressing productivity issues of Filipino rice farmers, the fluidized bed drying machine for rice grains can also make rice processing more sustainable.

The fluidized bed drying system enables fast drying of harvested rice, thus avoiding drying delays.

During the drying process, the grains are exposed to high air velocity, making the rice grain float on air in a fluid state.

Compared to other grain dryers, drying can be completed in around two  hours, instead of the usual 12 hours without affecting the quality of the dried grains.

Energy consumption is also 20 percent lower than the existing dryers.

A 2,500 kilogram per hour capacity commercial prototype was successfully developed, installed, and tested in Solano, Nueva Vizcaya.

“We need that type of technology. When you talk about grain drying, you associate it with harming the environment. Because there’s smoke (in the process),” said Rowena Guevara, Undersecretary for S&T Services at DOST.

“This fluidized bed (system) is not going to produce all those harmful greenhouse gases,” she said.

Guevara said the DOST is open to provide further funding in any effort of the DA-PhilMech team to scale their machine to allow large scale drying of rice palay grains if they want to pursue this.

Martinez said they came up with the fluidized bed technology concept way back in 2013.

“We started with some lab experiments to develop the concept and the optimum conditions to improve the quality of dried rice grain. It’s a very fast way of drying (rice) grain,” he said.

The machine is estimated to cost around P3 million.

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