STEAM Tree – A Solar Device That Ensures Sustainability

By Aaryaa Padhyegurjar

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A step towards a sustainable future…

The STEAM Tree, a solar-based sustainability initiative established in conjunction with Renogy, a prominent commercial distributor of renewable energy solutions, received its first public unveiling on 22nd April 2022 (Earth Day) at the University of Connecticut (UConn). The STEAM Tree is a solar-powered tree designed by a cross-departmental team of students and professors with various expertise and talents in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics (STEAM).

The team was inspired by nature and created a sustainable energy system that is both attractive and functional: the 12-foot aluminium tree will have nine big, leaf-shaped solar panels and three curving benches with power outlets at the tree’s base.

STEAM Tree’s Digital Concept (Credit: UConn)

The project, which began in 2020 and is nearly finished, will serve as a research and educational tool for the university as well as a space for students and guests to sit, relax, and recharge their devices. The multidisciplinary UConn team led by Dr Jasna Jankovic and Professor Chris Sancomb received grant support from the UConn STEAM Innovation Grant, funded by the School of Fine Arts and the Office of the Vice President.

The team also received solar supplies from Renogy, thanks to joint efforts from the departments of engineering, industrial design, biology, and sociology. “At Renogy, our mission to empower energy independence with DIY-friendly and reliable renewable energy products is always at the forefront of everything we do,” said Yi Li, Founder of Renogy.

50W/12V Flexible Monocrystalline Solar Panel and Deep Cycle AGM 12V 100AMP Battery (sized properly to fit on each of the solar trees’ ‘leaves’) (Credit: UConn)

“The STEAM tree project represents a vast array of opportunities that can pave the way for a brighter future. Collaborative efforts from individuals, education institutions, organizations and companies like Renogy help create new approaches to education, discourse, problem-solving, community development, and more,” said Dr Jasna Jankovic, Assistant Professor at the Materials Science and Engineering Department of UConn. “We’re excited to embark on more STEAM initiatives with Renogy to keep bringing diverse ideas, practices, and people together.”


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