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Cricket Drying

I've been researching methods to dry large volumes of Crickets and am struggling to find anything that makes economic sense given electricity/gas costs. Microwaving is very quick and protects nutrients but the largest conveyor microwave I can find will do 120kg in an hour at a running cost of 105W. Given you need at least 3,000k of crickets for one ton of powder, that's a huge cost element just in drying them out. It probably works given the current cost of cricket powder but if insects are to be used to replace fishmeal etc on livestock diets I can't see how this level of cost can be anywhere near absorbed and still be profitable. Does anyone else have ideas/information?



  • edited February 2018

    Maybe a horizontal mounted rotating thin wall metal "drum" with an hot water layer outside that "drum" wall & an insulated external "jacket" layer to hold in the liquid. The hot liquid is vented through a valve in to the space between "drum" wall & the "jacket" at temperature find needed to heat the "drum" contents high enough for you. The crickets are only inside the "drum" with air around them.

    The rotaing "drum" is creating a constantly shifting thin layer in contact with the "drum" wall & while there exposed to the heat transfered from hot water through thin metal wall. The water will lose heat at a certain rate into the "drum" & so a separate valve is needed to evacuate some cooling off water to make room for incoming hot water through it's own valve. Presumably the water coming out is still warm & will require minimal energy ($) to bring back up to useable temoerature.

    A series of individual batches an be done this way that gets loaded, closed up & opened up for emptying. Or if design series of internal chambers with propulsion screw drives fixed in place (inside "drum") could have a continuous feed flow.

    A variation of using a simple boiler is to heat the water under vaccum. Since this lowers the boiling point the amount of energy ($) needed to heat the water to desired temperature would be less. However, once dealing with fluid under vaccum the operation will require more safety precautions & specialized equipment/seals. Furthermore to add any re-cycled water to what is vaccum heating must funnel that in via pressure equalizing method.

    Possibly fluid (water) as the heat conveyor to the "drum" wall could be replaced by heated sand inside the insulated "jacket". In this case the rotating "drum" would likely need to be vertically mounted so the hot sand can flow down (& later out via gravity) to surround the "drum".

    Sand has a lower "specific heat" than water, meaning it heats up faster, yet & will cool faster than water. On the other hand sand requires less energy ($) to heat than water (ex. on hot day walking on dry beach sand feels hot while at same time walking at water's edge does not feel hot). Sand heating is done in rotary drums with a heat source.

    Oil can also be heated & reused. Oil does not have the hydrogen bonds that H20 water has & since hydrogen molecule bonds require energy ($) to loosen oil can heat (molecular expansion) with less energy.

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