Mechanized Drying of Cassava using Flash Dryers (Pneumatic Dryers)
- Adebayo Abass
The most important unit operation in the processing of cassava roots to value-added products is drying. Dryers are used to convert cassava mash to floury/powdery products. Among the different dryers, flash dryers have the shortest residence time of drying, are the most economical and widely used drying system for solids that have been dewatered or inherently have low moisture content. Thus, it's suitability for the production of starch, high-quality cassava flour (HQCF) and powdered fufu. Many flash dryer designs based on efficiency, product quality and throughput have been developed by fabricators in Nigeria. Year 2000 was the first time a flash dryer (owned by Femtex Starch factory in Lagos) was tested by IITA for drying HQCF. The result was encouraging, and it led to the subsequent technical support to equipment fabricators in Nigeria for the widespread fabrication and its use for drying of cassava to HQCF in Nigeria. Since 2004, flash dryers have been fabricated commercially and installed in Nigeria and other African countries (Ghana, Tanzania, Madagascar, Malawi, Zambia, etc.) by subsequent projects, government institutions, and the private sector.