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Smart solar panels could replace roadways


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#1    UM-Bot

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Posted 02 June 2014 - 01:16 PM

A record number of backers are helping to crowdfund a revolutionary new type of road covering.

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The brainchild of Scott and Julie Brusaw, the idea of replacing existing road surfacing with special hexagonal solar panels has been gaining widespread support and attention.

Read More: http://www.unexplain...eplace-roadways

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#2    mfrmboy

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Posted 02 June 2014 - 02:02 PM

Hope this happens! Will be awesome.


#3    rashore

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Posted 02 June 2014 - 02:38 PM

Solar freaking roadways, woot! When I first heard about this, my first thought was I want it for my driveway.

Your ad hominem connotes your sciolism. Now that is some funny commentary.

#4    Eldorado

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Posted 02 June 2014 - 02:44 PM

View Postmfrmboy, on 02 June 2014 - 02:02 PM, said:

Hope this happens! Will be awesome.

I predict a new black market for solar road panels.  Plus the theft of same by 'cowboy' builders.


#5    ancient astronaut

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Posted 02 June 2014 - 02:49 PM

I imagine that this would be quite slick when it got wet, unless they apply a non-skid coating to it.

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#6    Capt Amerika

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Posted 02 June 2014 - 02:56 PM

People all over the internet are dismissing this as "too expensive" and not feasible.
Question #1 is What is considered too expensive when the goal is to save the planet from the ever increasing fossil fuel burning and population rise?
Once you get past that you quickly realize that it doesnt matter if you believe in man made climate change or not, anytime you can slow down burning fossil fuels you are doing good.
I for one believe we need to step back and not get too focused on the roadways.  yet.
Start with driveways, offer subsidies to the home owners willing to have them installed and then hook the driveways to the grid.
After a few years, move to sidewalks and parks.
At this point the tech has had a good chance to really pick up the pace and improve.
Now about 10 years into this you can start doing roadway work,
Dont yet do the entire road but just the center lines and areas where you would have lines painted.
This way the majority of the abuse is on asphalt and you get to stop painting lines every year since LED lights will provide that for you.
We need to start somewhere, why not here?
I realize flat on the ground isn't the optimal way to collect solar power but if you lay enough of them they will contribute.
something is better than nothing.


#7    JVG

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Posted 02 June 2014 - 03:00 PM

I hope this takes off sounds like a great improvement.




#8    toast

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Posted 02 June 2014 - 03:06 PM

This idea will not have a chance, examples why:
- too expensive
- glas cannot provide the value of grip thats provided, and required for safety reason,  by "normal" street coats.
- glas gets slippery when wet
- the modules must withstand a presure of 25tons per square meter (EU regulation), so the glas must be some cms thick resulting in reduced    effectiveness of the modules

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#9    Capt Amerika

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Posted 02 June 2014 - 03:14 PM

View Posttoast, on 02 June 2014 - 03:06 PM, said:

This idea will not have a chance, examples why:
- too expensive
- glas cannot provide the value of grip thats provided, and required for safety reason,  by "normal" street coats.
- glas gets slippery when wet
- the modules must withstand a presure of 25tons per square meter (EU regulation), so the glas must be some cms thick resulting in reduced effectiveness of the modules
So we just give up?
Or do we try to improve the tech?
The guy is already using it in his driveway so it works to that extent as is.
We didn't go from the Model T to the Ferrari overnight.


#10    rashore

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Posted 02 June 2014 - 03:32 PM

View Posttoast, on 02 June 2014 - 03:06 PM, said:

This idea will not have a chance, examples why:
- too expensive
- glas cannot provide the value of grip thats provided, and required for safety reason,  by "normal" street coats.
- glas gets slippery when wet
- the modules must withstand a presure of 25tons per square meter (EU regulation), so the glas must be some cms thick resulting in reduced effectiveness of the modules
Well, they say the glass was engineered with a texture to not be slippery- testing for stoppage at varying speeds under varying conditions. And they say the things were designed to withstand 110,000kg.
And yeah it's probably too expensive right now for most folks- so were roof solar panels when they first came out, but in time they have become less expensive. A nice part about the road panels is that if there is a problem with the road surface, just the problem panels can be pulled and replaced, instead of having to patch/resurface the road entirely. This could mean less materials, equipment, and manpower needed to work on a road repair. So that might balance out the long term expense to some extent.

Your ad hominem connotes your sciolism. Now that is some funny commentary.

#11    HawkLord

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Posted 02 June 2014 - 03:41 PM

I would love a light up driveway. Plus with pressure sensors I could link to my computer or phone app it could send an alarm if someone is nicking or breaking into my car. :clap:  We need this kind of forward thinking. Good for them. :tu:

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#12    toast

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Posted 02 June 2014 - 03:56 PM

View Postrashore, on 02 June 2014 - 03:32 PM, said:

Well, they say the glass was engineered with a texture to not be slippery- testing for stoppage at varying speeds
under varying conditions.
I want to see study results by independent institutes first but it is improbable that the grip values of the modules can
compete against the grip values of standard street coats. In addition, by giving the glas a texture the effectiveness
of the modules will be reduced.

View Postrashore, on 02 June 2014 - 03:32 PM, said:

And they say the things were designed to withstand 110,000kg.
Designed to does not mean that it was tested in long term trials with positive results.

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#13    rashore

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Posted 02 June 2014 - 04:14 PM

View Posttoast, on 02 June 2014 - 03:56 PM, said:

I want to see study results by independent institutes first but it is improbable that the grip values of the modules can
compete against the grip values of standard street coats. In addition, by giving the glas a texture the effectiveness
of the modules will be reduced.

Designed to does not mean that it was tested in long term trials with positive results.

I would love to see study results too. I'm not too sure that it's improbable glass is worse than standard asphalt. Don't forget that what's used in road surfacing is different in different countries. So panels might be superior in one country, but inferior in another. I would like to see study made comparing the solar road tiles compared with other road surfaces. I don't think the texture of the glass would be that much of a problem- we can get goodly light through other thick or textured glass.
Right now they are only in testing on smaller scale. They were encouraged by their first parking lot, and were granted to build a second, bigger one. So hopefully we will be able to see the results eventually of durability, long term use, and all the other potential problems folks are thinking of.

I think that even if solar panels are proven not to be a great option for roads, they might still be a very viable option for less stressed conditions like driveways and even parking lots. Or sidewalks and other non-auto vehicle traffic surfaces like bicycle lanes on the sides of standard roads.

Edited by rashore, 02 June 2014 - 04:15 PM.

Your ad hominem connotes your sciolism. Now that is some funny commentary.

#14    toast

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Posted 02 June 2014 - 04:44 PM

View PostCapt Amerika, on 02 June 2014 - 03:14 PM, said:

So we just give up?
The Solar Roadway project as presented, we shouldn`t even start it.

View PostCapt Amerika, on 02 June 2014 - 03:14 PM, said:

Or do we try to improve the tech?
The goal is to generate energy from sunlight to reduce the use of fossil fuels and so to reduce carbon emmissions. The technology
to harvest energy that way is still developed/under enhancements and in use already. It will not make sense to develope the solar
roadway technology further as there is no need for for some reasons. One reason is that we still have enough free space to place
conventional sun collector devices, for example on the roofs of private homes. Another reason is the EROEI factor (energy return
on energy invested) of the solar roadway technology. The energy investment is not just limited to the manufacturing of such
devices, it also includes installation (thats much more complex than for standard devices on a roof), transport (high weight),
maintenance (high strain level) and others. Summarized said, we do not need such technology as we are not running out of free
space for the placement of standard sun collectors. The solar road idea is, I have to say that, a stupid idea. Governmental financial
incentives like low credit interest rates for owners of private homes, those want to install conventional sun collectors are more
related to the targed than the developement and operation of a dispensable system.

View PostCapt Amerika, on 02 June 2014 - 03:14 PM, said:

The guy is already using it in his driveway so it works to that extent as is.
Yes, he is using a kind of prototype but that means nothing.

View PostCapt Amerika, on 02 June 2014 - 03:14 PM, said:

We didn't go from the Model T to the Ferrari overnight.
Thats correct.

Edited by toast, 02 June 2014 - 04:46 PM.

“For every moment of triumph, for every instance of beauty, many souls must be trampled.”  - Hunter S. Thompson -
"Very funny, Scotty, now beam down my trousers!" - James T. Kirk -
"I think enormous harm is done by religion – not just in the name of religion, but actually by religion." - Steven Weinberg -  
"I am discounting the reports of UFOs. Why would they appear only to cranks and weirdos?" - Stephen Hawking -

#15    Silent Trinity

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Posted 02 June 2014 - 05:05 PM

Great idea. I have long thought of under road heating as an idea, would prevent the problems presented by icy roads etc, but this takes it even further.

I understand the properties of the manufactured item, but forgive me if I missed something, but wouldn't a tempered glass surface increase the risk of Aqua-planing massively in the wet?

Would be great to see this appear in our roads but i fear given the complex road network already in place that it will probably never replace all standard roads. I can envisage a scenario where certain busy stretches are converted in this manner but maybe only in major cities like London where the revenue / electricity generated would be most cost effective.

Who knows, maybe im wrong and by a massive feat of good old human ingenuity and hard work, tarmac (asphalt) could become a thing of the past. Great invention!

Edited by Silent Trinity, 02 June 2014 - 05:42 PM.

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