Controlling low-temperature drying facilities which utilise nonprepared air is quite difficult, due to very large variability of ventilation air parameters - both in daily and seasonal cycles. The paper defines the concept of cumulative drying potential of ventilation air and presents experimental evidence that there is a relation between this parameter and condition of the dried matter (sewage sludge). Knowledge on current dry mass content in the dried matter (sewage sludge) provides new possibilities for controlling such systems. Experimental data analysed in the paper was collected in early 2012 during operation of a test solar drying facility in a sewage treatment plant in Błonie near Warsaw, Poland.
The paper presents key assumptions of the mathematical model which describes heat and mass transfer phenomena in a solar sewage drying process, as well as techniques used for solving this model with the Fluent computational fluid dynamics (CFD) software. Special attention was paid to implementation of boundary conditions on the sludge surface, which is a physical boundary between the gaseous phase - air, and solid phase - dried matter. Those conditions allow to model heat and mass transfer between the media during first and second drying stages. Selection of the computational geometry is also discussed - it is a fragment of the entire drying facility. Selected modelling results are presented in the final part of the paper.