Video: Building the chimney solar dryer


This 3-minute video demonstrates the steps of how to build a solar chimney dryer in a helpful and clear way, with a short introduction about how the chimney solar dryer works. The video lists the materials needed (wood, clear plastic, black plastic, food-grade mesh screen, and basic carpentry supplies) and shows the four parts of the dryer:

  • a table
  • a chimney
  • trays 
  • a plastic cover

The video demonstrates the chimney solar dryer manual instructions. First, it shows building the table and chimney, then assembling trays to hold fruits and vegetables, putting together the pieces and preparing the dryer for use. Closed captioning is available on the video and a transcript is provided below.

This video is the first in a series of short videos about the chimney solar dryer, showing how to build it and how to use this improved design from UC Davis researchers.


How to build a chimney solar dryer (video transcript)
Researchers at UC Davis designed a solar dryer for small-scale farming systems around the world. The chimney solar dryer dries fruits and vegetables twice as fast as traditional solar dryers by combining a table where heat from the sun can collect, with a chimney that provides continuous air flow around the produce.

This video explains the basics of how to build the chimney solar dryer and is first in a series of three videos about this dryer. More information is available in the manual on our website.

The chimney solar dryer can be built with materials easily available in local markets. In this video we are using: wood, clear plastic, black plastic, food-grade mesh screen, and basic carpentry supplies.

The dryer is built in four main parts: a drying table covered in black plastic or black fabric, a chimney covered with clear plastic, drying trays made with plastic mesh or metal screen, a plastic cover made of clear polyethylene.

We are going to show you how to build a solar chimney dryer, but for more comprehensive instructions you can download a manual from our website.

The exact size of this design can be adjusted, but in this video, we are building a chimney dryer that is 60 centimeters wide, four meters long, and has a chimney that rises two meters above the table.

We start by building a sturdy table, including slats across the top for additional support. 

Then, stretch black material over the top and sides of the frame, securing with staples.

Next, build a similar frame for the chimney. The chimney must be the same width as the table, in this case 60 centimeters wide. Cover the whole chimney with clear plastic, except for the opening at the top.

Now build trays that will hold the fruits and vegetables to dry. Cut food-grade mesh screen into 60 centimeter squares. Then, attach two pieces of wood under the mesh opposite each other. Secure two more pieces of wood on top of the mesh on the two remaining sides. Screw the wood corners together and secure mesh to wood with staples.

Finally, put the pieces together. Join the chimney to the table by screwing in two vertical boards. You may want to anchor the chimney to the ground with stakes. Place five trays on the table, then build shelves on both ends of the table to hold a pole. Carefully, cut an opening in the chimney plastic so that air will flow above the table and under the shelf and plastic cover. 

Drape the clear plastic cover over the table and shelf, tucking the clear plastic tightly against the chimney to ensure air is flowing through the dryer.

Use poles to help fold the plastic tight around the table.



Value Chain

Postharvest practices


Chimney solar dryer