Development of a Solar Powered Poultry Egg Incubator for South West Nigeria
Egg incubators with regular, effective and efficient operation have the capacities of providing enough poultry birds which can serve every household in Nigeria with sufficient amount of protein on daily basis. Although many commercial incubators in Nigeria has folded up due to epileptic and erratic electricity supply which disrupts and impairs the operation of the incubators and reduce their level of performance resulting into low production and high cost of poultry birds. In order to ensure an uninterrupted power supply and keep egg incubators in operation, a solar powered poultry egg incubator was developed. The main components of the incubator are incubating chamber, control system and solar powered system. The developed solar incubator was 610 mm × 607 mm × 1649 mm in size with a capacity for 150 eggs. The angle of turn of the egg tray was fixed at 30o. The diameter of the crank of the turning mechanism was calculated from the maximum displacement of the egg crate support. The radius of the ventilation hole was based on the time required to empty all the air in the chamber. The total heat required in the chamber was analysed and evaluated. The size of the components of the solar powered system was based on the amount of energy needed and the duration of usage. Preliminary test was conducted on the developed solar powered poultry egg incubator. The diameter of the crank of the turning mechanism was 151 mm while the radius of the ventilation hole obtained was 13.30 mm. The heat loss through the walls by conduction, air convection and ventilation hole were 59.77 W, 10.9741 W and 0.0003222 W respectively. The total heat required was 85.44W. The energy consumption needed by all the loads in the incubator for the period of 24 hours was 10.48 MJ. The sizes of the solar panels, charge controller, batteries and inverter power designed and used were 480 W, 40 A, 400 AH and 2 kW respectively. The preliminary test on the developed solar powered system poultry egg incubator indicates that the egg incubator works effectively within the recommended temperature required for successful hatchability.
Incubator; Temperature; Relative humidity; Poultry; Solar powered system