Mechanistic Modeling of Water Replenishment Rate of Zeer Refrigerator
A model for predicting the water replenishment rate of zeer pot refrigerator was developed in this study using mechanistic modeling approach and evaluated at Obowo, Imo State, Nigeria using six fruits, tomatoes, guava, okra, banana, orange and avocado pear. The developed model confirmed zeer pot water replenishment rate as a function of ambient temperature, relative humidity, wind speed, thermal conductivity of the pot materials and sand, density of air and water vapor, permeability coefficient of clay and heat transfer coefficient of water into air, circumferential length, height of pot, geometrical profile of the pot, heat load of the food preserved, heat flow into the device and gradient at which the pot is placed above ground level. Compared to the conventional approach of water replenishment, performance analysis results revealed 44% to 58% water economy when the zeer pot’s water was replenished based on the model’s prediction; while there was no significant difference in the shelf-life of the fruits preserved with both replenishment methods. Application of the developed water replenishment model facilitates optimal water usage in this system, thereby reducing operational cost of zeer pot refrigerator.