Submitted to: ASAE Annual International Meeting
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: March 1, 2005
Publication Date: June 1, 2005
Citation: Butts, C.L., Chastain, J., Dorner, J.W., Sanders, T.H., Rowland, D. 2005. Storing farmers stock peanuts in monolithic domes. ASAE Annual International Meeting. ASABE Paper number 05-6182. ASABE, St. Joseph, MI. p. 13. Interpretive Summary: A structure called a monolithic dome was used to store farmers stock peanut from the 2004 crop. A monolithic dome is a structure that is built by inflating an airform, then spraying the inside surface with about 3 to 4 inches of high density polyurethane foam insulation. Reinforcing steel bars are then erected inside of the structure, and shotcrete, a sprayable form of concrete, is sprayed on the inside surface of the urethane foam and encapsulating the steel reinforcing. Openings such as doors and access ports for loading and unloading peanuts, air inlets and aeration systems are framed into and built into the structure. The result is an insulated hemispherical structure that is easily loaded and unloaded, cleaned, and maintained for storing agricultural commodities such as peanuts. This research showed that peanuts can be cost effectively stored in these types of structures while minimizing losses due to excessive moisture loss, aflatoxin contamination, and mechanical damage.
Technical Abstract: Monolithic domes are a structure that have been around since the mid-1970's and used as commercial buildings, homes, schools, and bulk storage facilities. Two domes were constructed at a peanut processing facility in Rochelle, GA that were 37 m in diameter and 22 m tall. The domes were loaded from a single access hole in the center of the peak of the dome using a dump pit that lifted peanuts onto a horizontal conveyor belt. Once the peak of the pile reached approximately 18 m from the floor, a 6-m long open auger was used to level the pile. After filling, 5200 t peanuts were approximately 18 m deep in the center and 11 m deep on the side wall with a flat upper surface approximately 12 m in diameter. Two temperature cables are installed in each dome with eight thermistor sensors spaced every 1.8 m. Each dome is equipped with a 7.5 kW fan to pull air down through the peanuts into a plenum and exhaust the air from the dome. Four 1/10th scale models were constructed measuring 3.7 m in diameter and 2.4 m tall. Each was loaded with approximately 5 t of peanuts. Two of the domes are equipped with a closed ventilation system and an air conditioning unit to cool the peanuts and remove excess moisture. The other two domes are equipped with fans to draw air down through the peanuts and can be exhausted or recirculated as desired. These fans are run when the ambient temperatures are cooler than the peanut temperature at the center of the dome. Once the desired peanut temperature has been achieved, two of the domes, one chilled and one aerated, were sealed and flushed with nitrogen to achieve low oxygen atmospheres. Temperature and humidity data will be presented. The change in peanut quality will be determined by comparing shelling characteristics, aflatoxin, the peanuts after storage to those observed upon initial loading.