ECONOMICS OF DRYING AQUAFEED
How you can improve your bottom line profits by Justin Hamm Applications Engineer, Bühler
s an aquafeed processor, you are always aware that your drying operation has a significant impact on your bottom line. Drying is a very energy-intensive operation; that’s why most aquafeed producers diligently track the cost of fuel used in their drying operation. However, are you aware that your dryer could be costing you 10 times as much in terms of lost production compared to energy costs? You may be sending over 3 percent of your production out through the exhaust stack without even knowing it. Downtime for dryer cleaning and maintenance may also be costing you more than you know. This article will describe the economics of drying in more detail, and outline three operational
areas that could significantly improve your bottom line.
The cost of energy used in operating the dryer is the most obvious cost of drying. One need only look at the larger burners in the dryer, or at the boiler providing steam to the dryer, to realize that money is being spent to remove moisture in the drying operation. This energy is essentially needed to cover four heat loads in the drying operation, these are: • Warming up the product. • Evaporating water from the product. • Heating the make-up air. • Steady-state heat losses. Since extruded aquafeed leaves the extruder at a high temperature, very little energy is used in warming up the product. The pellets cool as they are conveyed to the dryer. Typically,
32 | January | February 2016 - International Aquafeed