|Abstract (Project Summary)|
The purpose of this project is to use nature as a tool to discover and design a naturally-adapted effective system to collect an optimum level of solar energy as a method of alternative energy collection. The proposed system is thus based on the mathematics and branch angles of a coniferous spruce tree. (Picea glauca, or White Spruce species growing in the city of Calgary.) Spruce would appear to be a good test genus because in an open-grown habitat, their lateral and sub-lateral branches appear to be arranged to capture a high percentage of the incident solar radiation. The best-looking phenotypes were examined, and the tree’s south and southwest sides were measured to design a photovoltaic solar energy collector. Photovoltaic cells are used in the design because they are cost-effective in this generation and are already being used, but in an inefficient arrangement. The branch angles for the artificial solar tree are adapted from an actual tree’s design morphology and implemented onto the artificial design to see if this would generate more power output than a current system will, while still keeping the same time frame of use. Results proved that this system generated a maximum of 268% more power output that an average single-panel system with a rotating motor, using a series circuit.
Summarized Project Report - made for the Canada Wide Science Fair 2006
This website was made for the 2006 Canada Wide Virtual Science Fair. Please note the fact that this website summarizes the key points of the project. Some minor details of the project were not included.
Grade Category: 7-9 (Grade 9)
Source for Idea: The Math Instinct, by Keith Devlin, stated that plants were the most effective solar energy collectors. Solar panels are a current method of collecting energy to help solve the growing energy crisis mankind is facing, as oil and gas resources become more difficult to obtain. If such an effective design worked for trees, could this concept be applied to a new method of arrangement of solar panels?
Please see image references listed in the Bibliography.
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