Solar Roadways

Road Section

Our country is filled with roads. Everywhere you look, there will be a road leading somewhere. The technology behind the road has not advanced in many years, until Scott Brusaw got involved. His idea was to use the roadways as solar collectors, subsequently charging the city grid with solar energy captured with streets.

The problems of this idea are endless, but so are the opportunities. The roads of our world are useless for the majority of their live. All day long, they are soaking up the suns energy and doing nothing with it besides adding to the heat island effect. There are currently about 28,000 square miles of exposed asphalt, with a solar roadway system running at 15% efficiency it will produce four times our current electrical usage. The parking lots for large corporations now become a useful part of infrastructure and could potentially power the buildings which they serve. The system is constructed of a textured glass layer, followed by LED and solar cell layer which is accompanied by a recycled support structure. The textured glass layer is engineered to potentially withstand all load requirements from the Federal Highway Administration. The textured surface will allow for traction in slick conditions while also reducing glare to not impair the vision of drivers.

If the glass panel can be engineered to be strong enough to support the weight of a fully loaded 18 wheeler, then there is a great deal of promise with this technology. The technology also includes heating elements to make plowing snow and salting ice obsolete, saving money for the city. There will also be LEDs embedded in the surface to signal lanes and alert drivers of obstacles. The initial investment of this infrastructure will be very high, but the return on investment is intriguing because it can power the entire nation and eliminate dependence on fossil fuels.

Original sources:
http://www.fastcoexist.com/1681562/solar-roads-charging-roads-and-the-future-of-transportation
http://www.solarroadways.com/intro.shtml

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