2016 Student Awards
Shunyao Hu, Fei Tao, Jaewon Wang
Rapid technology development brings convenience as well as a huge demand for energy and power. Fossil fuels, shortages, and pollution have raised popular attention to developing new, cleaner energy sources; however, two popular alternative energy sources, solar and wind, have limited energy production capacity, restricted efficiency, and require a lot of land.
The goal of the N.E.S.T. project was to develop a new alternative energy source that would decrease usage of fossil fuels and also structure a harmonious future façade of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC). Sources show solar panels produce 2.34 kWh a day and wind turbines produce 287.67 kWh a day. Calculations indicate that for a 24 hour period, the UIUC campus would need 950,000 solar panels – the surface area of 1000 soccer fields – or 1,021 wind turbines – equal to 940 soccer fields – to sustain itself.
A New Energy Source Tree (N.E.S.T.) was designed to relieve the conflict between power generation and landscape. N.E.S.T. combines solar energy production, wind energy production, and rainwater collection. N.E.S.T. is 30 feet wide and 45 feet high, and produces approximately 831.47 kWh energy per day. In this model, only 353 N.E.S.T. structures would be needed to support the energy uses of UIUC for 24 hours. As a replacement for traditional trees and alternative energy sources, N.E.S.T. could be used for a wide range of applications. Considering the trend of clean energy use, it is predictable that energy trees would be accepted by the market.