Davao, Philippines – One of the world largest seed companies commissioned the installation of its first batch of Solar Bubble Dryer™ 50 (SBD 50) on October 8, 2016. The company is looking for proper seed drying solutions on its hybrid rice. Developed in partnership with the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) and the University of Hohenheim (UoH), the SBD is a state-of-the-art solar dryer that is quickly gaining popularity among a growing number of food producers due to its ability to dry commodities while protecting against sudden rainfalls.

Three units were purchased by the seed company for the drying of paddy seeds to address the losses of seed germination rate and vigor because of condensation and uncontrollable ambient temperatures. Additionally, they are looking for a more cost-effective measure to reduce operation costs. Their existing methods of mechanical and pavement drying are costly and inefficient, often resulting in cross-contamination, spillage losses and over drying of seeds.

During the training, the management and technical team expressed the importance of proper seed drying in safe preservation. According to Engr. Alnor Limbo, GrainPro CSE, they noted five crucial advantages in using the SBD:

  1. Protects seeds against sudden rains and spillage losses.
  2. Can be operated using electric or purely solar power for 24-hours.
  3. A daily operating cost of only PhP 12 per SBD unit.
  4. Eliminates risk of cross contamination especially among other hybrid and commercial varieties.
  5. Minimizes night time condensation.

During the on-the-field demonstration, the SBD proved its effectiveness as a proper seed drying solution. It showed that it can dry despite the changing weather condition. With an average drying rate of 1.5 percent moisture content (MC) per two hours, the SBD was able to reduce MC of paddy with an initial MC of 18 percent to 15 percent in just two hours. The seed company will begin full use of the SBDs in early November.

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