This project is a redesign of the heat exchanger system in the Cardamom Spice Dryer. Guatemala is the world's biggest producer and exporter of cardamom, the third most expensive spice by weight. The project goal is to make the wood-burning dryer more efficient with respect to time and materials as deforestation is a major concern. This redesign is to be easily implemented into the current model for the 12,000 dryers located throughout in Guatemala.
In April 2018, a group of MSOE students performed a preliminary assessment trip of a dryer site and manufacturer in Cobán to gather information regarding design constraints, observe the cardamom dryer and understand the drying process, and develop relationships with the community and Heifer International. Heifer International Guatemala, a global nonprofit working to eradicate poverty and hunger, has been collaborating with small-scale Guatemalan farm families to improve their local environment and the management of their natural resources. In the 2018-2019 academic year, a group of MSOE students is partnering with Heifer International to proceed with analysis and design of the cardamom dryer heat exchanger component, and the team will travel for an implementation trip.
In 2021, the Mechanical team was awarded the NCEES Engineering Education Award. The team of mechanical engineering students collaborated with professional engineers and other professionals to develop a low-cost metal attachment called a swirler, which is inserted into heat exchanger tubes in spice dryers. The swirler, at a one-time cost of two dollars, is made from sheet metal and a pair of tin snips and pliers. The solution will reduce deforestation and improve the overall quality of life in rural Guatemalan communities. The jury praised the project for providing an ingenious solution to an environmental issue.
The team is continuing their research to discover new ways to improve the efficiency of the cardamom spice dryers.
Current Project Manager: Sophia Meinhausen
Previous Project Managers: Nicole Weise, Ethan Schrag, Maia Heineck, Tanner Vaculik, Hazel Ringpis
Faculty Advisor: Todd Davis, Ph.D., PE
First Morning in Senahu
Heat Exchanger and Pila on Site #1
Retired Heat Exchanger
Ceiling and Pila of Site #1
Santa Rosita, Site #2
Heat Exchanger and Pila on Site #2
Heat Exchanger with Swirlers Installed
Measured Volume of Fire Wood
Adding Wood to the Fire Box
Unloading Cardamom into the Pila
Preparing Cardamom for Drying
Dried and Packaged Cardamom
EWB-MSOE Student Showing Swirler Production
Another Local Learns About the Swirlers
EWB-MSOE Travel Team