StemINSPIRE

The Farmer’s Son Who Created a Unique Solar Dryer for Farmers

Inventions are fashioned by those who have a burning need to make a difference to the world; who try to do something that will leave the world a better place for its inhabitants. Such people have a relentlessly curious mind, are sensitive to the concerns of others and are driven by a need to do something concrete to alleviate those concerns

Inventions are fashioned by those who have a burning need to make a difference to the world; who try to do something that will leave the world a better place for its inhabitants. Such people have a relentlessly curious mind, are sensitive to the concerns of others and are driven by a need to do something concrete to alleviate those concerns.

Vaibhav Tidke is one such person. Vaibhav is credited with inventing an innovative Solar Conductor Dryer- a device that aids farmers in storing their fresh produce, without fear of their produce rotting or spoiling. The device is so beneficial and convenient for farmers that it has been successfully installed at 1,200 sites in eight countries- France, Jamaica, Nepal, Vietnam, Sri Lanka, Kenya, Bangladesh and India.

Vaibhav was born in a farmer’s family in rural Maharashtra. In his growing up years, Vaibhav became acutely aware of the problems faced by farmers, especially the smaller ones, in storing unsold produce. Often times, he saw fresh produce remaining unsold and thus rotting away, for lack of proper storage options. If not, then farmers would have to sell their unsold produce at throwaway prices in order to cut their losses.

He realized that for small farmers, this loss meant a huge difference to their bottom lines, and also amounted to their hard work going down the drain.

So when he enrolled at one of Mumbai city’s best engineering colleges to study engineering, creating innovative solutions to alleviate farmers’ problems was top of his mind. While still studying engineering at Institute Of Chemical Technology, Mumbai, Vaibhav formed an organization ‘Science4Society’, S4S, with the support of his friends, peers and professors. The aim of his organization was to use the marvels of science and engineering for the benefit of society.

The organization’s flagship product is the Solar Conductor Dryer. The solar conductor dryer offers a sustainable solution to farmers’ issues concerning storage of fresh produce. The dryer works on the principle of a patented food-drying technology that works to to extend the shelf life of produce, without the use of preservative or artificial additives. The device can be used to extend the shelf life of not just fruits and vegetables, but also of grains, spices, meats and seafood.

The best part about the device is that it runs on solar energy, thus making it a cheap, affordable, viable and green alternative to expensive storage and refrigeration techniques. The innovation has won S4S numerous accolades, including the Dell Social Innovation Challenge.

Encouraged by the resounding success of the solar dryer, Vaibhav, along with his team, is in the process of creating the ‘FooDer’, based on the same patented technology of the solar conductor dryer, but for use in domestic households. With FooDer, Vaibhav plans to give a sustainable option to housewives to make the process of dehydrating food produce in their homes as easy as pie!