What is in this article?:
- Online calculator computes grain drying costs
- Four different strategies
• The Purdue Energy Estimator projects energy costs for in-bin and high-capacity grain dryers.
• While farmers usually know what they are spending to dry grain, they don't always understand how dryer components and operating conditions contribute to the energy bill,
• Running the simulation provides results for four different drying strategies: Continuous natural air, constant heat, variable heat and self-adapting variable heat.
Four different strategies
"Running the simulation provides results for four different drying strategies: Continuous natural air, constant heat, variable heat and self-adapting variable heat," Ileleji said.
Those calculating high-capacity dryer energy use select among seven grain crops and propane or natural gas fuel, and enter fuel cost per gallon, electricity cost, beginning and desired grain moisture, ambient air temperature and relative humidity, and drying air temperature.
Seconds after the user enters the information, the estimator spits out its results: fuel, electric and grain shrinking costs per bushel; drying time in days; average moisture content; MBTUs required for drying; and BTUs per pound of water. Additional data fields appear for high-capacity dryers.
"Keep in mind that these are best estimates," Ileleji said. "While they are research-based and we've done our best to make the tool as accurate as possible, results should not be construed as actual savings."
The estimator is a work in progress, Ileleji said. At this time just one dryer manufacturer's models appear on the Web site, but others will be added as information is available, he said.
Research used to develop the estimator was funded in part through a U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service Conservation Innovation Grant titled "Exploring Biofuel Alternatives for Energy-Intensive Seasonal Drying Processes." Most of the background research was conducted by Dirk Maier, former Purdue professor and agricultural engineer.
Dan Ess, a Purdue agricultural engineer, also is a co-principal investigator for the estimator project.