The Beneficiary Light Grant Scheme, better known as B-Light, is a grant scheme for financing cooperation between SMEs in the Hungary-Croatia border area. The border region covers eleven counties, 8 of which are Croatian and 3 are Hungarian.
B-Light is a cohesive programme whose goal is a balanced development of the entire economy through investments in strengthening businesses located in the aforementioned border areas.
The B-Light scheme was used to co-finance the cooperation between HERBAS d.o.o. from Pitomača and Barcs Metal Kft. from Hungary. HERBAS is a leading Croatian company specialised in designing and manufacturing equipment for processing industrial hemp, camomile and other medicinal and aromatic herbs. Barc Metal designs and manufactures metal containers.
HERBAS from the Virovitica-Podravina County and Barcs Metal from Somogy (Somogy County) reached B-Light’s goals with their first joint project, a plug and play dryer. Now they are continuing their cooperation with an innovative product that demonstrates the expertise of both companies and meets the demands of the European and global markets.
Their first joint product, the plug and play dryer, caught the interest of growers of aromatic and medicinal herbs and spices as their agricultural parcels are often scattered, which makes a mobile dryer an ideal solution.
Growers were faced with the issue of transporting large quantities of plants to the nearest dryer in a short time frame to prevent the fermentation process.
The plug and play dryer solved that problem as the dryer can be relocated to where the plants are and thus cut transport and storage costs. As this dryer has been well received on the market, HERBAS and Barcs have continued their cooperation on developing another product.
Cooperation between HERBAS and Barcs Metal has resulted in a solution for improving the quality of plant drying with an innovative KSP 22 product – the portable condensation dryer.
The product was developed as part of another B-Light project of the two companies, which started in 2021.
A grant of EUR 204,037.87 was awarded for the development of an innovative condensation dryer housed in a shipping container, which also allows for the mobility of the dryer.
Barcs Metal are responsible for the special container that houses the dryer, while the equipment for internal drying based on the condensation technique is developed and supplied by HERBAS.
The type KSP 22 condensation dryer is intended for drying all types of plant mass, especially that where the loss of essential oils during the drying process needs to be prevented. Traditional convection dryers accrue significant losses, even during methodical drying, which can be as high as 45% because heating the air, and with it the plant mass, increases air saturation, so fresh, unsaturated air needs to be supplied continuously, while the saturated, heated air is released into the atmosphere. At temperatures over 30%, losses become significant due to oil volatility. When it comes to condensation dryers, drying may be conducted at lower temperatures, from 20°C to 30°C, where fresh air is not added, but rather the same air is constantly recirculated.
Moisture condensation and extraction from the chamber is conducted by air passing through a capacitor. In other words, during recirculation the air captures the moisture from the plant mass being dried and supplies it in the form of water in the capacitor. The dryer is designed as both a trolley and floor dryer, i.e. the plant mass can be supplied through the perforated dryer floor or into shelves (frames with a permeable bottom) or one or more levels. Supplying through the floor or one or more levels depends on the type of material, density and layer height.
This method of drying with the same air being recirculated and without adding fresh air leads to significant energy savings, but above all, it improves the quality of the final product.
The only drawback is longer drying times, i.e. a higher number of units of time is needed for the same volume of dried plant mass. More specifically, the drying time of the condensation dryer is 36 to 48 hours.
Lastly, it is important to highlight not only the significant energy savings, but also the quality of the final product, which retains almost 100% of the plant content.