The Mathews Company is testing a propane-powered Trilogy series grain dryer this year. The propane model drew considerable attention from farmers at the National Farm Machinery Show where the dryer was displayed.
Mathews received a grant from the Propane Education and Research Council (PERC) to help develop the propane dryer, which is designed for high energy efficiency. The propane dryer also provides flexibility because, unlike traditional dryers, this model does not need to be located near a natural gas line.
The Trilogy dryer runs in three different modes: pressure heat/pressure cool, full heat, or pressure heat/vacuum cool. Kevin Ryan, Mathews Company, says drying options are easily changed on a touch screen that is located in a cabinet on the side of the dryer. The three modes give farmers options for drying based on type of grain, the incoming moisture level, and energy efficiency. For example, a farmer may want to focus on energy efficiency and use the vacuum cool mode that pulls latent heat out of the grain and recycles the hot air through the fan.
Other features include a quiet centrifugal fan and a smaller screen for handling a variety of grains. The Trilogy is constructed in a compact horizontal configuration so it can be installed anywhere, including remote field locations.
The propane Trilogy dryer will be commercially available in 2012.