Energy Option for Small Scale Cashew Nut Processing in India
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Copyright: © 2020 Atul Mohod, Sudhir Jain and A.G. Powar. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
Problem statement: Cashew (Anacardium Occidentale L.) is one of the important tropical crops. India processed about 11,80,000 metric tons of raw cashew nut seeds through 3650 cashew processing industries scattered in many states of country. The cashew nut processing industries are typically located in the rural and backward areas. The most significant difficulty in processing cashew nuts is that the hard outer shell, which contains the edible kernel, contains a caustic oil which can burn the skin and produce noxious fumes when heated. More recently, smaller scale factories use the steaming and cutting method. Approach: At present cashew industries facing problem of interrupted power supply which affect the economical growth of the sector. The cashew industries in India employed different unit operations/methodology for processing depend on variety of raw material, location, technological mechanization, availability of secured energy supply. Results: Large disparities in energy intensity for similar process in the cashew processing reveal the scope for energy conservation to be in the order of 30-48%. There is good scope for effective utilization of solar energy and biomass gasification technology for energy generation in the sector. Conclusion: This study deled with the elucidation of the processing operations in the small-scale cashew processing of Maharashtra with identification of energy consumption for unit operations. The energy conservation opportunities in the cashew nut processing sector were discussed in the study. The scope for utilization of renewable energy technologies like solar dryers for drying of cashew nut seed and cashew kernel were elaborated. The characterization of cashew shell waste available in the processing industry revealed the scope for thermal gasification of shell for heat generation.
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