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Solar Roadway - What if we could power our nation from our roads??? Has anyone else seen this?  RSS feed

 
Becky Mundt
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Honestly, I cannot say how I came across this but I thought it was pretty darn cool. No, nothing is perfect. But this seems like a viable plan to consider.

The folks here have a long history - have done a ton of work to build and create this thing - and are now just wanting to build it - to they are crowd funding it. I joined up and got in just because it is the coolest cool thing I've seen in a long time and I thought "why NOT?" I'd love to help them get more attention and get the word out - etll me if you guys think this is as cool as I think it is - or could be - and by all means, if you do - pass it on! Thanks!!! Oh, and - the usual disclaimer - I ahve absolutely nothing, nada, nil, zip, zilch to gain from promoting them here - I just think we can use all the cool stuff like this we can get - imagine a roadway that powers the nation... uh huh. that's what I'm talking about... and these folks seem to have it figured.



https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/solar-roadways
Solar-Roadway-Video-Image.jpg
[Thumbnail for Solar-Roadway-Video-Image.jpg]
Image of the video screenshot of the solar roadway
 
oliver moss
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It sounds like a great idea, and if they can make it work then I'm impressed. However, I'd be very surprised if it can really be financially viable as it must be vastly more expensive than building a standard road. I'd think that solar roofs are much more practical.
 
Zach Muller
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Agreed that the idea sounds great. A few possible considerationsI could see are

-cost (some cities already have problems keeping regular priced roads running)
-don't the cars cover up the road during rush hour,which usually corresponds to peak usage hours where more power is needed for the grid
-in many places on the road the panels will not be efficient because they are shaded by buildings or trees


Cool idea.
 
Becky Mundt
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Well, I think the thing is that roadways ARE our most expensive infrastructure - in sheer miles and resources - all that tar and fossil fuel.
So this glass idea - which incorporates new and less expensive materials as well as solving other problems, could really change the game.
Plus the idea of making the roadways the intelligent network system - (after all all the fiber optic and etc is being run UNDER them or next to them now) -

anyhow - these guys have done a LOT of work on this - and clearly have some great creds to go along with their idea - I hope they get their funding
and can do some serious installations to demonstrate their concept - it's not like they haven't already designed and built it!

 
Zach Muller
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Becky Mundt wrote:Well, I think the thing is that roadways ARE our most expensive infrastructure - in sheer miles and resources - all that tar and fossil fuel.
So this glass idea - which incorporates new and less expensive materials as well as solving other problems, could really change the game.


Yeah Becky that is a good point, we collectively spend so much time and resources on having roads and then use fuel to drive our cars to wear out the roads in a perpetual cycle of consumption of resources. Any technology that can help break a cycle of resource waste will potentially be a good thing.


Plus the idea of making the roadways the intelligent network system - (after all all the fiber optic and etc is being run UNDER them or next to them now) -


I had a similar thought when I was driving around the Utah -Colorado - New Mexico area. Out there you will see the power lines running up above the road on very steep slopes. It must take a lot of time to scale those cliffs to install the telephone poles. Putting all of it into the roadway would streamline the maintenance of those passes significantly.
 
Markus Loeffler
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Wonderful idea especially with the heating and light elements!
But this looks like an installation nightmare with the access needed below the surface. Maybe this is better for intersections and walkways because you need only a few to have an impact on the safety than to plaster the entire road
 
Ty Morrison
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These guys have been around for a while and have served to get us thinking of other applications for solar other than hot-water and RV novelties.

I think the concept of having our roads (and more importantly) parking lots (a significant reduction in wear & tear) generate energy is brilliant and worthy of intense design and research.

There are a lot of folks dedicated to keeping this idea from moving forward which is truly sad.l Whether this product controls the future market is immaterial, just as the first computers are no longer relevant. The important thing is the thinking and motivation.
 
Andrew Ray
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http://solarroadways.com/faq.shtml

Their FAQ is good. I wondered about the durability of the things, which they somewhat address.

Their section on AC vs DC is not totally accurate though. Although anything with microelectronics in it uses DC internally, and many appliances wouldn't care (electric hot water heaters, ranges, etc. with resistive heating elements), the voltage coming off the solar highways at least would need to be quite high, maybe not so much for parking lots supplying one building, but even then it would be at perhaps 120 or 240 volts. So in fact, electronics would still need a power supply, probably not much different than what they have now, just a switch mode power supply rated to run off of DC input instead of (or in addition to) AC.

But also, in order to cost effectively transmit electricity any distance is needed a higher voltage. Power (watts) = Current (amps) x Voltage (volts) = Current squared x Resistance (Ohms) Basically, what heats a wire is the amount of current flowing through it, and unless that wire is the heating element in your stove, for instance, that is wasted energy. This is the main reason for the AC distribution network-- really long distances (the tall pylons) are up to 100,000V and then in the city it is somewhere around 5,000V and finally gets to the transformer at your house and is stepped down to 120/240V.

The good news is that modern power electronics allow for efficiently converting DC voltage levels, so it could work.

I imagine there is a long road still to meeting all manner of regulatory/safety approval issues though.
 
Markus Loeffler
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I agree with parking lots and roads locking up the land but especially having these tiles in parking lots is not convincing me. Most of the time there are cars parked covering the ground. I would much more prefer having a solar roof above the parking lot. You get the additional benefit of providing shade and it is less expensive. Also you could provide charging stations for EV which are powered by the sun!
 
                    
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I too have had thoughts of solar-roadways, but I thought it would be less complicated to actually do the electric generation at a station along the route. To collect the solar heat absorbed by the blacktop, absorb the heat into a plumbed heat exchanger (located within the roadway shoulder, under the blacktop, connected to the main plumbing also located within the shoulders of the roadway). Once the main pipes in the shoulders of the roadway are filled with water, (heated by the sun) the hot water is piped/pumped to various electric generating sub-stations along the route. Valving/pumping allows the water to flow at very low rates when no solar heat is being collected (at nighttime) or at higher flow rates during sunny afternoons.

I like using the shoulders of the roadway because there is less traffic upon them, they are serviceable without interrupting highway traffic, and because my thoughts on this are not proven as far as I know, therefore it would be prudent to get a working model in the shoulders first, then if satisfactory results are obtained, advance into wider shoulders, for larger collection area. Roadway shoulders would still be functional as a breakdown lane, but with solar collection plumbing within the shoulders 'regular highway traffic' must be avoided on the 'solar shoulders'. Less used state highways could also contribute, much less traffic but still just as exposed to the benefit of solar heat collection, and the cold contribution that those roadways also contribute.

I also have a Phase 2 of such a monstrosity, still based on 'solar shoulders', and the collection of heat & pipelines thereof. The pipelines could be of great length, following from Laredo, TX all the way to NY, NY. circulating nothing but water and the heat carried within the water. For example it is 100F in Laredo, TX for at least 12 hrs./day, for at least 4 months...pipe that heated water from Laredo to NYC at any time that the temperature in NYC is below 50F. It is a simple 'redistribution of heat' where you want it, and likewise a 'redistribution of cold' where you need it, therefore NYC consumes the heat sent to it, and sends back to Laredo chilled water, quite cold perhaps 35f, which is something they could use down south. And when NYC reaches 100F in the summer, they can still send chilled water to Laredo for at least 9 months out of the year. Just as Laredo can send hot water to NYC 9 months of the year. And there would be hot or cold boosting stations along the way. Lets say in KY they are getting record sunshine, boosting the already hot water in temperature, but also in KY there may be a vast deep cold water lake, of which they can boost the cold side of the recirculatory pipeline. No matter where you are along the pipeline your solar input is of value to the system, venting off excess heat at the electric generation stations, and sending the main heat in the pipeline to NYC. And if your area is typically cold and cloudy all the time, your value to the system is the cold input, still very valuable to those in the south.

Phase 3 should include a certain level of water quality within the pipelines, water treatment of a very high quality, this could benefit everyone that is currently drinking water out of substandard municipal water treatment plants, your location along the route should be able to add value if you simply have very clean water to offer the system. {I know we all can hear Nestle's & Coca Cola's gears turning already} And just as there is a value in a clean water pipeline, there must be a dirty water pipeline that has value, there are some places that thrive on dirty water, so pipeline it to them that can use it properly.

The worst drawback I can see to this is: Security of it. As we all know to clip a multi-functional artery, could amount to serious FAIL.

I would imagine that a system like this could actually even out (to some degree), even out economic hot spots (big cities) by including economic cold spots (rural).

lol I just throw this stuff out there for fun. And I just used Laredo & NYC as examples, we could easily extend to our Mexican & Canadian brothers to be involved in something like this. This is just another wild idea for anyone that wants to lead with it.

james beam



 
Markus Loeffler
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Here is a link to an interesting analysis of the Solar Roadway project with pointing out the many flaws in the concept: video
 
Ty Morrison
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Arm-chair engineering. Critics appear to be missing the point: there is a lot of dedicated right-of-way that could connect in a 'web' which contacts every house and address with a pretty uniform surface and a lot of built-in maintenance and observation, maybe this version doesn't fit perfectly but it's the start of a good concept.

My bid: conductive paint and thermo-plastic collector material used as striping. Quantity over quality!
 
Chris Olson
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Solar roads. Right. What for? If given the choice of installing solar panels in our driveway vs on the roof, I'll guarantee you beyond any doubt that they'll work better on the roof where cars aren't driving over them and shading them. These are the kinds of things that give renewable energy a bad name - far out ideas that are in no way shape or form even remotely practical. The sad thing is that people who know nothing about solar power will fall for it, and then it costs the taxpayers billions just like Evergreen Solar, SpectraWatt, Solyndra, Beacon Power, Nevada Geothermal and about 30 other of these taxpayer funded scams that have gone bankrupt.

the answer to energy never was in the Borg spiderweb grid infrastructure of powerlines or roads. It is in distributed generation where one failure does not cause the entire system to go down. So don't hold your breath waiting for solar roads to do anything but cost you money then fail to meet the promise.
 
Abe Connally
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Chris Olson wrote:Solar roads. Right. What for? If given the choice of installing solar panels in our driveway vs on the roof, I'll guarantee you beyond any doubt that they'll work better on the roof where cars aren't driving over them and shading them. These are the kinds of things that give renewable energy a bad name - far out ideas that are in no way shape or form even remotely practical. The sad thing is that people who know nothing about solar power will fall for it, and then it costs the taxpayers billions just like Evergreen Solar, SpectraWatt, Solyndra, Beacon Power, Nevada Geothermal and about 30 other of these taxpayer funded scams that have gone bankrupt.

The answer to energy never was in the Borg spiderweb grid infrastructure of powerlines or roads. It is in distributed generation where one failure does not cause the entire system to go down. So don't hold your breath waiting for solar roads to do anything but cost you money then fail to meet the promise.


Everyone jumped on the solar roadway bandwagon without every really thinking about it. Dirt, oil, cars, shade, cost, and reality make it impractical. There's no way that solar panels are less costly or more practical as road surface than asphalt.

Why anyone would promote solar roads instead of solar roofs or just plain ol' solar panels is beyond me.
 
allen lumley
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Indegogo raised 1.5 million for this scheme -So far- The only way I can see this work is if the energy gathered were transferred directly to the cars traveling over it !

Ether trying to store the energy or transport it any farther away then a sign on the side of the road, ( We already have, that and its portable ! ) If this turned every parking
lot into a roofed parking lot and the roof had solar panels, I would say this was money well spent, but I can not see where this is going ! Big AL
 
Abe Connally
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So, what you're saying is we need to find a govt roof project, start an indiegogo for solar rooftops, and rake in the money.
 
Ludger Merkens
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Nope Abe,
you first have to add fancy lights, to - ähhm let me think - scare birds of.
 
Abe Connally
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Ludger Merkens wrote:Nope Abe,
you first have to add fancy lights, to - ähhm let me think - scare birds of.


lights on the solar rooftops, there you go.

can I have $2M, now?
 
                    
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here is your $2M...have fun with it, while I recount a few things, just for fun.

Abe Connally wrote: Everyone jumped on the solar roadway bandwagon without every really thinking about it. Dirt, oil, cars, shade, cost, and reality make it impractical. There's no way that solar panels are less costly or more practical as road surface than asphalt.

Why anyone would promote solar roads instead of solar roofs or just plain ol' solar panels is beyond me.


I think human invention has increased to remarkable levels, which should involve solar energy improvements.

I also think that the USA is inherently filled with roadways/right-of-ways that provide safe driving, but also provide massive solar heat concentration, one needs only to recognize the temperature probe just 10' away from a sunlit roadbed, and there... in the grass covered ditches... is a temperature difference that points to the obvious solar heat concentration of the man-made roadbed. Concrete, stone, metal buildings already collect & waste to the atmosphere solar heat... much more than any natural living ground cover. When you consider the USA population is around 350 million people, and they all need roadways to get around, of course we should at least have a working model of attaching solar collection to roadways. Roadways have already become a massive test of invention in the realm of rain/snow management, the man-made roadways concentrate the rains, just as they concentrate solar heat, I don't think anyone would attempt to build a roadway without considering the unnatural concentration of rain/snow fall the roadway creates. Water management has become a necessary part of any roadway. Solar management of the roadway should also become a necessary part of any roadway, and house tops...also should be seen as 'man-made concentrators of solar energy as well as rain & snow', which should be managed sustainably.

When my 'aussie rain gutter' roof water collection, proves to have collected & stored much more rain than I want, I would only be too happy for those that can use the rainwater to transport as much of the excess as they would enjoy to have.

I think the term 'global warming' is inclusive of the wasted solar heat absorbed by man-made structures and this daily solar absorption is presently and in times past been nearly forgotten in the roadways, except for the necessary expansion gaps. Yea it has been called 'heat pollution' for many years, and with good reason, as heat pollution exists in many forms other than roadways, it is beyond me, why absorbing that solar heat concentration, into a fluid/gases (plumbing), or electricity to redistribute that solar heat to where it is could be used constructively has not been attempted.

Oh wait... on a small scale, that is exactly what a 'heat pump' does, it simply moves absorbed heat via fluid/gases (plumbing) from where it is collected to where it is needed. Often the home 'heat pump' absorbs the heat within the house, and moves the heat outside the house. At a rather high cost of moving that heat energy, the house/heat pump has generally become an worthy expense. I might compare it to tapping into the heat resource of a volcano, no one would deny that a remarkable transfer of heat from the volcano can provide a great deal of comfort and work, all the expense is associated within the transfer of the volcano heat into something humans can manage. Do you need the volcano heat in the summertime???... probably not, but in the dead of winter, everyone would like to have access to the volcano vent.

Back in the olden days, the fore-runner to modern day air conditioning, was born a cottage industry of cutting ice blocks out of winter frozen ponds, transporting the ice to where it could be used, proving to be a very valuable natural resourse. But was it sustainable? I think the ice collectors at that time would absolutely agree, there was in those days before modern refrigeration, an sustainable enjoyment in the real winter work that did not really exist in the deep freeze country until the transportation/insulation of that commodity became realistic. These days the snow/ice is piled up, year after year, and cold energy accumulated is wasted to the atmosphere, every ditch is full of it, waiting for it to melt. The Great Lakes buckle with icy energy.

Earth, wind, & fire can all be used sustainably...or not.

james beam

 
                    
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revisit the website today, as there is breaking news there this very evening! 06/18/2014

https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/solar-roadways#home

http://solarroadways.com/numbers.shtml

http://solarroadways.com/people.shtml

james beam


 
allen lumley
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- my wife just asked me,'' its glass at the road surface ?'' (Yes ) ''What happens when it rains? '' 1)Water on glass 2) hydroplaning 3) slips and falls,

If these people can not Prove that their new technology reduces all of these conditions - there will be an Army of Lawyers ready to take them to court to sue for

'Willful disregard for Public Safety' pain and suffering, misrepresentation !, malfeasance ? Damages and court costs !

Who is going to buy this product for installation in their parking lot until these questions have been answered ? 11! I have a lot more questions and no Answers. Big AL
 
Cilian St. Pierre
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I donated to it! Might take a long long time to get set up and working, but the energy possibilities are amazing! I truly hope something comes of this!
 
Chris Olson
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From their article:
For our calculations, let's use the following (conservative) assumptions:
- We use solar cells that have an 18.5% efficiency
- We average only 4 hours of peak daylight hours per day (4 x 365 = 1460 hours per year)

Sunpower offers a 230 Watt solar panel rated at 18.5% efficiency. Its surface area is 13.4 square feet. If we covered the entire 31,250.86 square miles of impervious surfaces with solar collection panels, we'd get:

((31,250.86 mi²) x (5280 ft / mi)²) / (13.4ft²/230W) =
((31,250.86 mi²) x (27,878,400 ft² / mi²)) / (13.4ft²/230W) =
(871,223,975,424 ft²) / (13.4ft²/230W) = 14,953,844,354,292 Watts or over 14.95 Billion Kilowatts

If we average only 4 hours of peak daylight hours (1460 hours per year), this gives us: 14.95 Billion Kilowatts x 1460 hours = 21,827 Billion Kilowatt-hours of electricity.


Their math is so bogus that I can't even comprehend it. We are not new to solar PV here - been using it for over a decade. If I apply their math to our 6.75 kW of installed solar capacity, we should be getting 10,000 kWh/year from our solar panels. These freaking idiots pushing the solar roads do not even know how to apply solar insolation numbers in watts/sq meter against cell efficiency, and de-rate factors for conditions less than STC, for pete's sake! Want to see some real numbers? This is what our solar panels have produced so far this year to June 18, 2014 at 12:30PM:



That's right - 1,838.3 kWh. Average of about 11 kWh/day - 3,970 kWh/year. Not 10,000. And this is with solar panels installed at ideal tilt angle and with no cars driving over them and shading them. Just like their article says, folks down south can produce more than we can here up north with solar panels. But there are many days that those solar panels produce virtually zero - today for instance we only have 2.4 kWh harvested at 12:30 PM because it is overcast and raining.

The Solar Road Scammers are so far out in left field that it's almost unbelievable. And I have no doubt the "greenies" and government will fall for it, because they're both about gullible as they come. This company has already gotten $850,000 of taxpayer money to build the 12' x 36' "parking lot" shown in the photo on their website - a so-called "parking lot" set on concrete on the south side of their shed that has no cars parked on it.
http://www.solarroadways.com/intro.shtml

Dream on people. If you can come up with a good enough scam to get a government contract, you got 'er made. I'm not going to post any more on this scam. Move on. Nothing to see here.
 
Abe Connally
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Chris Olson wrote:But living off-grid for as long as we have, I can tell you beyond a doubt that our off-grid power easily costs 3x per kWh what you buy it from the utility for.

I've lived off grid for about the same amount of time as you, and I can say without a doubt that the above statement is only true if you ignore the infrastructure and environmental costs of the grid. For example, to even get the grid to my property, it would cost well over $30K. I put together our solar system for under $6K. And in the time from when I first installed a solar panel to the ones I purchased last week, solar has reduced more than an order of magnitude in price ($6/watt to $.50 a watt).

It's not like the grid doesn't get subsidies, too, though they've been receiving them for a lot longer than solar companies. Not to mention that the taxpayer has covered the cost of grid infrastructure time and time again (and assumes cost of cleanups, mining, natural disasters, etc). And the fact of the matter is that grid power, especially from fossil energy sources, has plateaued or is increasing. Solar offers considerably long-term benefits, because it's price is rapidly decreasing.

Solar is about 1.4 times the cost of coal for grid-level installations, on par with conventional natural gas:


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cost_of_electricity_by_source

The thing is, solar roads offer no advantages, so even on the front end, it doesn't look good. That should not be confused with typical solar power, which offers numerous advantages and is becoming economically competitive.
 
Brett Andrzejewski
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I am trained as a engineer and solar roadways are just another snake oil, all hype, poor science, and no practicality.

Rather than write a lengthy article on why they are such a bad idea I'll just link to this article:

http://www.peakprosperity.com/blog/85700/no-solar-roadways-anytime-soon

My analysis is the same as the author's.
 
Ludger Merkens
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When you consider the USA population is around 350 million people, and they all need roadways to get around, of course we should at least have a working model of attaching solar collection to roadways.


Two things come to mind.
  • plant trees along the road - perfect solar collection with a long history of development
  • permaculture is not limited to the USA


  • regards
    Ludger
     
    Mark Gray
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    Their FAQ answers a lot of these questions: http://solarroadways.com/faq.shtml

    What are you going to do about traction? What's going to happen to the surface of the Solar Roadways when it rains?

    Everyone naturally pictures sliding out of control on a smooth piece of wet glass! Actually, one of our many technical specs is that it be textured to the point that it provides at least the traction that current asphalt roads offer - even in the rain. We hesitate to even call it glass, as it is far from a traditional window pane, but glass is what it is, so glass is what we must call it.

    We sent samples of textured glass to a university civil engineering lab for traction testing. We started off being able to stop a car going 40 mph on a wet surface in the required distance. We designed a more and more aggressive surface pattern until we got a call form the lab one day: we'd torn the boot off of the British Pendulum Testing apparatus! We backed off a little and ended up with a texture that can stop a vehicle going 80 mph in the required distance.
     
    John Polk
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    I have to wonder how this would hold up in an area like here in Washington state.
    For about 5-6 months of the year, people put on their steel studded tires.
    These are kind of like football, or track running cleats/spikes.
    Or, the mountain passes that require tires be chained for much of the year.

    On the concrete interstate highways, they wear 3-4 inch deep grooves into the roadway in a couple of years. Or, the mountain passes that require chains for much of the year.

     
    Andrew Herzfeld
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    I'm all for creative solutions, but they do have to work. Unfortunately, there seems to be too many holes is the logic of this technology. Keeping them clean for example. It takes enough work to keep solar panels clean when they aren't being driven on...

    It is pretty amazing how much they've raised on indiegogo though.
     
    Markus Loeffler
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    I also think this a 'bad' idea but it looks like a town in Holland is now building a 100m long bicycle path to test the concept of solar panels in the pavement. Maybe that slight alteration into a bicycle path works better.
    http://www.solaroad.nl/en/
     
    Andrew Herzfeld
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    Very interesting Markus. Thanks for the link.

    I am skeptical, but it will be interesting to see how it performs in a real-world test. I'm not so far away, so if I find myself in the Netherlands maybe I could even stop by.

    I see you're from Altadena. I actually grew up in Arcadia!
     
    Burra Maluca
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    Joe Bramblett
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    Markus Loeffler wrote:I also think this a 'bad' idea but it looks like a town in Holland is now building a 100m long bicycle path to test the concept of solar panels in the pavement. Maybe that slight alteration into a bicycle path works better.


    A bike path also won't have an 18 wheeler with a blown tire scraping several hundred yards down it with tons of weight resting on the narrow steel rim. There are grooves from that all over the roads around here, and I'm pretty sure their solar tiles wouldn't handle it well.
     
    Joshua Myrvaagnes
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    There's a project to rebuild highways, parking lots, roads, sidewalks with solar cells that also can have LEDs to mark lanes/parking spaces etc. and heating elements to melt snow (instead of salt). This seems like a good idea. They estimate that at 15% efficiency solar cells covering the street area of the USA could power this country three times over. It would also replace telephone and cable lines and put these underground, and channel run-off water to a better place (I did not see details).

    I didn't see a thread about this existing, if it's redundant can you please direct me to it mods? Thanks!

    Pluses--
    --it gets people to rethink roads
    --it is a better use of the space to stack functions
    --reducing salt of the roads would be a huge plus
    --the asphalt heats and degrades when not used; this would make it useful
    --raised 2 million in crowdsourcing
    --if it breaks when a vehicle's going over it at 65mph , it's probably no worse than if asphalt opens up a pothole or if there is one you just didn't see.

    minuses
    --the cradle to grave cost in energy and ecological impact is unclear to me; even ig it's better than asphalt, it may still not be in the black ecologically
    --parking spaces are in total shade much of the day, except the areas at edges of cars, and even these get little direct sunlight outside the tropics
    --questions about the tempered glass material strength and costs of that
    --releatively high-tech: circuit boards etc.
    --it's been hyped, bashed, and I'm generally more cautious of anything that's got a bunch of mainstream enthusiasm
    --the swag for their indiegogo does not look to be very mindfully produced
    --don't think we need roads as much as we need to find the value in where we already are, plus ways to communicate information (telecommute, share wisdom, cooperate globally)
    --safety on actual highway unsure
    --if it breaks when a vehicle is going at 65 mph that's not the time you want to find out
    --unclear where the power is stored/loss in communication cell-to-cell

    interesting points
    --that there is that much space going essentially unused
    --as asphalt it's already not growing space or anything else space
    --Federal Highway Administration would actually fund something like this (R&D)
    --muncipality in Idaho actually building some prototypes in parking lots
    --replaceable cells may make more sense than re-paving a whole street
    --you could make dummy cells that don't have solar panel or LED or circuitry to fill spots that wouldn't get sunlight or be seen (under parked cars)
    --they actually gained more solar energy in overcast than direct sun (in northern Idaho latitude--not angled for the sun at all or retro-angled if street was)
    -- makes people feel good about something potentially constructive
    --even if it doesn't work, it's worth trying a bunch of things and seeing what sticks
    --municipal projects are being done anyway, perhaps they would pay for themselves partially or wholly if they produced energy
    --producing more energy doesn't connect us to doing things with our own body power
    --restates a problem that hadn't looked as clear previously
    --if we had no more vehicles and no use of roads for travel, having the highway system become a power grid partly or fully could be useful--you can't grow stuff there anyway without pulling up the asphalt
    --solar panels could be put down on top of asphalt perhaps even without the rest of the scheme


    Thoughts?

    Thanks Burra for pointing me to this thread. I wish the search engine got me places better.

    I like that this gets some good ideas going. I also think that there's something to be said for a shiny, flashy idea that isn't all that good but that gets funded, and is a stepping stone to a better idea or better ideas.

    I think we need less road and more appreciation of where we already are; and after the Interstates are no longer in existence we could still repurpose that asphalt to something. Dirt banking is one possible use, but maybe it's less work to allow government and indigogo contributors make our local roads into solar collectors. Once there ARE no cars on them that's a pretty decent use of them.

    What are other good uses?

    --easier place to install railways for transporting small goods
    --the internet can be run along it (we want to preserve communication globally even if we don't keep transportation); it's a bit easier than hacking through random forest, so keep the cables buried under it, if access can be built in some way
    --flywheel effect, cooling in the early morning, heating at night
    --helps navigation somewhat, even if overgrown and crumbled, can be used to find your way to other family business neighborhoods
    --water runoff--collection--and slightly warmer than the surrounding ice
    --hard surface can be used for breaking things against



    the numbers are missing from the person who posted that the math was way off--are you saying it's off by a factor of 2 (should be about half what they claim)? or was it more than that? I got lost in it. Thanks for a great discussion folks!

     
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