In the field of drying, an important part of our work concentrates on the study of transport processes taking place at the scale of a product, during its drying. We have been interested in various products, from baker's yeast pellets to soils, colloidal suspensions, peppercorns, fruits (apple, banana, pineapple, ....) or cocoa beans, in different kind of devices/geometries (laboratory tunnel dryer, fluidized bed, spray dryer, sessile drop, Hele-Shaw cell…). By combining experiments and mathematical modeling, we try to highlight and characterize the key phenomena involved and to develop models, validated experimentally, of the drying kinetics of these products. From the experimental point of view, we have developed various devices, combining continuous measurement of the drying rate and optical characterizations (by the use of microscopes or infrared cameras). From a more fundamental point of view, we are also interested in the quantification and the modeling of the competition that can exist in a porous medium between the evaporation of the liquid and the convective motion induced by capillarity (imbibition).

At the scale of the dryer, we participate in several projects aiming at the development, based on a rational approach, of solar dryers, to be implemented within farmer cooperatives in developing countries (Uganda, Cambodia...). As part of a long-standing collaboration with Polytechnique Montréal, we are also interested in the development of alternative devices for the drying of yeast grains (rotary dryer, conical spouted bed...).

Contact: Benoit Haut (bhaut@ulb.ac.be


Selected publications

Morm, E., Ma, K., Horn, S., Debaste, F., Haut, B., & In, S. Experimental characterization of the drying of Kampot red pepper (Piper nigrum L.). Foodsaccepted. 2020

Van Engeland, C., Haut, B., Spreutels, L., & Sobac, B. Evaporation versus imbibition in a porous medium. Journal of Colloid and Interface Science, 576, 280-290. 2020

Sobac, B., Larbi, Z., Colinet, P., & Haut, B. Mathematical modeling of the drying of a spherical colloidal drop. Colloid and Surface Science A, 576, 110-122. 2019 

Van Engeland, C., Spreutels, L., Legros, R., & Haut, B. Convective drying of baker’s yeast containing a carrier. Drying Technology, 37(11), 105-1417. 2019

Herman, C., Spreutels, L., Turomzsa, N., Konagano, E., & Haut, B. Convective drying of fermented Amazonian cocoa beans (Theobroma cacao var. Forasteiro). Experiments and mathematical modeling. Food and Bioproducts Processing, 108, 81-94. 2018

Talbot, P., Lhote, M., Heilporn, C., Schubert, A., Willaert, F.X., & Haut, B. Ventilated tunnel solar dryers for small-scale farmers organizations: theoretical and practical aspects. Drying Technology, 97, 803-817. 2016

Spreutels, L., Haut, B., Legros, R., Bertrand, F., & Chaouki, J. Experimental investigation of solid particles flow in a conical spouted bed using radioactive particle tracking. AIChE Journal, 62(1), 26-37. 2016

Gerard, P., Mpawenayo, R., Douzane, M. & Debaste, F. Influence of climatic conditions on evaporation in soil samples. Environmental Geotechnics, 1-1. 2016

Spreutels, L., Haut, B., Chaouki, J., Bertrand, F., & Legros, R. Conical spouted bed drying of Baker's yeast: Experimentation and multi-modeling. Food Research International, 62, 137-150. 2014

Mai, H.C., Truong, V., Haut, B., Debaste, F. Impact of limited drying on Momordica cochinchinensis Spreng. aril carotenoids content and antioxidant activity. Journal of Food Engineering, 118(4), 358-364. 2013


  • PRODEX NINOC project

    Transport phenomena in human lungs with a mechanical perspectives: numerical, theoretical analysis of the interaction between lungs heterogeneity (healthy or unhealthy situations), NO transport, water and heat exchange and O2 ventilation. PI : Benoit Haut

    Funded by BELSPO-ESA
  • PhD Thesis of Elen Morm

    Rational design of peppercorn solar dryers. PI : Frédéric Debaste and Benoit Haut

    Funded by ULB
  • PhD Thesis of Charlotte Van Engeland

    Multi-scale approach to yeast grain convection drying: modeling and experimental characterization of kinetics and quality. PI : Benoit Haut

    Funded the FNRS
  • DITRASOL project

    Drying-Induced Phase Transitions in Solutions. PI : Pierre Colinet and Benoit Haut

    Funded by the FNRS
  • Development of processes for the transformation of Congolese edible insects, for their conservation

    PI: Frédéric Debaste