Solar energy is heavily used in rural food processing, particularly in underdeveloped and developing countries. Drying is a complex process involving simultaneous heat and mass transfer among the various unit operations involved; with a reduction in product moisture content, drying offers multiple benefits, particularly an increase in product shelf-life.


Sudanese startup Solar Foods, Founded by Dr. Alaa Salaih Hamadto, uses solar energy dryers to process local harvests, allowing people to cook traditional and authentic dishes. Solar Dried Foods sell these ingredients in their brand packaging. Their products, which are currently only available in Sudan, are free of preservatives, genetically modified ingredients, artificial coloring, and flavoring. The startup intends to globalize and localize its organic food products.




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Sun-drying has been the most widely used drying technique on farms and rural food processing for centuries. Food samples to be dried are directly exposed to incident solar radiation in open sun drying. The material absorbs a portion of the incoming radiation and emits the remainder into the atmosphere during this process. A part of the absorbed radiation is converted into thermal energy, causing the temperature to rise while simultaneously removing moisture from food samples. It should be noted that only a fraction of the incident solar energy is used for drying because sun-drying suffers from significant thermal energy losses. As a result, a more scientific approach with improved heat utilization and thermal efficiency is required.



"Solar Dried Foods embodies all that is great about a food brand across the product's lifecycle; Innovative, Healthy, High Quality, and last but not least, Environmentally Friendly." - Ahmed Darwish Solar's Marketing Professional.




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Dr. Alaa grew up loving home-cooked meals and was determined to instill the same love in her children. As a working mother, however, recreating traditional, authentic Sudanese dishes, which required a variety of pre-prepared ingredients, would require long hours of preparation, all at the expense of valuable family time. Dr. Alaa was, therefore, determined to innovate for a solution that provides both authentic taste and convenience, thereby addressing a problem that many Sudanese working women face.




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