Students Study Solutions for Solar-Powered Pasteurization in Peru


Photo by JelleS via Flickr CC

A group of students from Rensselaer Polytechnic has come up with a smart idea for safer milk in Peru. Currently, poorer farmers are unable to obtain market certification for their milk and dairy products because they can't afford pasteurization equipment. As long as their facilities remain unhygenic, they're kept out of the marketplace. However, John Cannarella, Ryan Lewis, Jared Stepanauskas, and Natalie Maslow have come up with a solar powered solution that is cheap and could have global implications for farmers in rural or developing areas.
PhysOrg reports that the project started in 2007 with an aim to help the Langui and Canas communities in southern Peru. The goal was to assist in developing affordable pasteurization technology that relied on renewable energy so that families who rely on their dairy cows as a source of income can earn a spot in the marketplace.

The new system would the families meet governmental regulations, all with affordable equipment that uses renewable energy. Beyond looking at solar power as an energy source for the equipment, the students are working out how to convert dung and other waste into a biogas that could also fuel the system.

The students are currently creating a working prototype. The device pushes milk through a tube, which passes through boiling water, heating the milk in the tube enough to sanitize it, but not spoil it. They're partnering with New York State Department of Agriculture and markets to test the equipment, and soon the team will test the prototype on-site in Peru.

The next phase of the project includes testing the prototype on-site in Peru and connecting with the farmers who would need such affordable and effective equipment so that they can supplement their income by selling dairy products.

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Tags: Farming | Peru

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