JUA Applied sciences Worldwide, an agriculture know-how startup that manufactures solar-powered crop dehydrators, has acquired a two-year, $600,000 Section II Small Enterprise Innovation Analysis (SBIR) grant from the U.S. Division of Agriculture to additional develop its know-how.
The objective of the Section II venture, titled Sensible Multipurpose Photo voltaic Dehydration Gadget for Worth Addition to Specialty Crops, is the profitable proof of idea towards product-design enhancements and design for manufacture of JUA Applied sciences’ multipurpose photo voltaic dryer, known as Dehymeleon.
Klein Ileleji is co-founder and CEO/chief know-how officer of JUA Applied sciences. He is also a professor of agricultural and organic engineering and an affiliate of environmental and ecological engineering at Purdue College. He mentioned crop dehydration is likely one of the greatest methods to protect the vitamins and lengthen the shelf lifetime of meals, but it surely has drawbacks.
“It’s an energy-intensive course of with enormous working prices as a result of meals dehydrators are usually powered by gasoline, electrical energy or gas oil,” Ileleji mentioned. “The excessive working price limits the power of small and midsize growers and processors within the U.S. to supply dehydrated meals. Small growers and processors are very important to the native meals and concrete agriculture trade, which is at the moment a $1 billion and rising trade within the U.S.
“In growing international locations within the tropics, the place postharvest losses of nutrient-rich horticultural produce could be as excessive as 50%, dehydrating meals hygienically utilizing the abundance of photo voltaic vitality out there in these elements won’t solely assist assist vitamin safety but additionally present growers a possibility to extend their revenue from value-added processing.”
Ileleji mentioned dehydrating vegatables and fruits, herbs and spices, and medicinal vegetation nonetheless happens utilizing primitive, open, sun-drying strategies on mats or trays that degrade vitamins and cut back meals high quality.
“Whereas there are a variety of photo voltaic dryer designs out there within the literature and on-line, none of them have been commercialized or utilized in massive numbers,” Ileleji mentioned.
Ileleji mentioned JUA Applied sciences’ proposed high-efficiency, good, multipurpose photo voltaic dehydrator matches the USDA’s and Nationwide Institute of Meals and Agriculture’s priorities in 4 methods.
“It improves strategies to course of specialty crops to enhance high quality and dietary worth and supply wholesome meals choices,” Ileleji mentioned. “It permits small and midsize growers so as to add worth to their crops and improve their farm revenue. It gives those self same growers with an inexpensive know-how powered by renewable vitality, which conserves vitality and reduces operation price. It additionally gives an energy-efficient know-how to advertise renewable vitality use and assist environmental sustainability.”
The grant will cowl 4 analysis and growth targets:
+ Modeling and simulation to optimize the photo voltaic dehydrator’s efficiency.
+ Figuring out the conduct and efficiency of the desiccant and heat-recovery system underneath numerous drying hundreds.
+ Figuring out the sector efficiency and validating the modeling effort for fruits, greens, spices and herbs in Indiana and California.
+ Beta prototyping of the product for manufacture.
Ileleji mentioned the targets shall be addressed by JUA Applied sciences and contracted manufacturing and product engineering design companies.
In 2019 JUA Applied sciences acquired a $100,000 SBIR Section I grant from the USDA and a $50,000 match from Elevate Ventures. In 2022 the U.S. Small Enterprise Administration acknowledged Ileleji because the Indiana and the Nice Lakes Regional Exporter of the Yr for its transportable photo voltaic dehydrator, Dehytray.
“Each the Dehytray and Dehymeleon applied sciences spun out from a United States Company for Worldwide Improvement (USAID)-supported effort known as Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Meals Processing and Publish-Harvest Dealing with,” Ileleji mentioned. “It was a multi-institutional effort led by Purdue College to cut back postharvest loss, promote financial development, enhance vitamin and improve meals safety in Feed the Future goal international locations.
Ileleji disclosed his crop drying innovation to the Purdue Analysis Basis Workplace of Expertise Commercialization, which licensed it to JUA Applied sciences. The corporate is a shopper of the Purdue Foundry, an entrepreneurship and commercialization hub whose professionals assist Purdue innovators create startups. Each are managed by the Purdue Analysis Basis.
JUA Applied sciences Worldwide
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