donderdag 18 augustus 2011

The roadways of the future.

Stateside -- Idaho-based Solar Roadways has been given a $750,000 grant from the Federal Highway Administration. Company founders Scott and Julie Brusaw had the idea of creating "roads that would pay for themselves" after reading about the rising cost of asphalt.

They have designed a 12 by 12 foot prototype of a road surface that is made from solar panels with 6000 LED lights embedded within it that could be used to delineate the road markings. He says in a video introducing the technology: "There are 25 square miles of road surface, parking lots and driveways in the lower 48 States. If we covered these with solar panels working at just a50 percent efficiency, we would produce three times as much electricity as this country uses on an annual basis."

However, first they had to find a glass that would offer the same vehicle traction as asphalt but would also not cause glare and be able to withstand weight, fire and everything the elements could throw as it without losing its transparency. This they have found but, as the video explains, the roadways will also use rubbish pulled from landfills to provide the internal support system for the solar panels.

The Brusaws claim that their Solar Roadway prototype can generate 7.6 kilowatt hours of electricity per day, and this power could be sent into the grid or, if on private land, could be used to power heaters to melt the snow and ice on a driveway to save shovelling. It could even be used to charge electric vehicles, adds Digital Trends.
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