The Tree will enable research in the area of Materials Engineering for solar and piezoelectric energy harvesting, and potentially CO2 conversion and water electrolysis. Novel material development, printable panels, biomimicry, improved efficiency, surface properties, are all topics of interest. Other engineering faculty in clean energy and material discipline will be able to participate in the project as well. The Tree will be a novel teaching tool on topics like processing and properties of materials (MSE 2002), alternative and renewable energy (MSE 4801, 5320), as well as a great outreach and recruitment tool.
The UConn STEAM Tree project will provide true valuable research opportunities in Electrical Engineering aspect: as a renewable energy test bed for solar energy conversion, electric energy storage system, maximum power point tracking algorithm for solar power, cloud shading effect validation, performance evaluation for solar light tracking capability, prediction algorithm for solar energy generation, forecasting solar power generation algorithm, etc. Once a prototype of STEAM tree is built, immediately it can be introduced and engaged with two courses: ECE3211-power electronics and ECE3411-microprocessor application laboratory.