As an I-CUREUS participant , I provided technical support for existing projects within the Solar Energy Systems Laboratory (SESL) and conducted my own research for an upcoming project on compact thermal energy storage. My project support included assisting my colleagues in the SESL with setting up apparatus used for the experimentation components of their Master’s theses, and my individual research included reviewing and compiling the latest research that has been conducted on a renewable heating technology that uses thermochemical materials.
One of the projects that I helped out with in the SESL was the Guarded Hot Box, which is an apparatus that allows for rapid testing of the thermal resistance of wall components. Some of my contributions included drafting engineering drawings of multiple stud wall assemblies, building those walls, and re-arranging the layout of thermocouples within the apparatus. This work as well as my research on compact thermal energy storage made effective use of my undergrad coursework pertaining to graphical design, heat transfer, and renewable energy systems. Compact thermal storage is a promising technology that will enable the Canadian deployment of renewable heating systems such as solar thermal on a greater scale.
Current seasonal solar thermal systems that use the sensible heat of water are limited by the unfeasibility of their large storage requirements. I have come across state of the art research that involves storing heat thermochemically in markedly smaller volumes, which will make implementing renewable heating systems in the future a lot more practical. The work I was involved in during the term of this award gave me the opportunity to apply and improve upon my drafting abilities as well as it got me interested in pursuing graduate studies with my independent research.
The I-CUREUS program is a great opportunity for undergraduate students that are interested in getting involved in research and practical learning that is outside of classroom.