Skip to comments.ENDLESS ELECTRICITY: Here's A Way Of Turning America's Roads Into Gigantic Solar Panels
Posted on 05/14/2014 7:13:32 AM PDT by SeekAndFind
There are about 31,251 square miles of roads, parking lots, driveways, playgrounds, bike paths, and sidewalks in the lower 48 states. If Julie and Scott Brusaw have their way, they will all someday be replaced with solar panels.
For the better part of a decade, the Idaho couple has been working on prototyping an industrial-strength panel that could withstand the weight of even the largest trucks. They now appear to have cracked the formula, developing a specially textured glass coating for the panels that can not only bear tremendous loads but also support standard tire traction.
By their reckoning, at peak installation their panelized roads could produce more than three times the electricity consumed in the U.S.
The material could power electric vehicles through a receiver plate mounted beneath the vehicle and a transmitter plate is installed in the road.
(Excerpt) Read more at businessinsider.com ...
Oh swell...just another way to set cars on fire
Of all the solar power plans I’ve seen, this looks the most acceptable.
I love the inventiveness, but solar cannot power an industrial society, and there is no need, environmental or otherwise to stop using abundant, flexible, and inexpensive hydrocarbons.
The good news (for me at least) is that I won’t live long enough to see it....
But isn’t the whole point of parking lots and roads to cover the paved surface with cars........
If the joint were pervious so water could soak into the ground underneath that would be a plus.
How well would they stand up to snow plows, ice heave, etc.?
An interesting idea, but may also suffer from distance-to-user issues.
How quickly will the glass become ‘marred’ so that the panels must be replaced for current to rise?
It would be a neat trick if it could work. I suspect though that UV degradation of the plastic would reduce millions of square miles of it to rubble, and a lot of problems with water and salt intrusion.
Catching that degradation and replacement before the voltaic cells are damaged would be a very intensive effort in my opinion.
Still, it is thinking that’s definitely outside of the box. I’ll give the couple that.
Really? It looks totally whacked out to me. Road beds crumble from below and then what happens to the solar panels?
I foresee heavy maintenance costs on a product like that. I like the idea. Practical application may not meet reality when the rubber needs to hit the road...: )
Can you double stack the counters on each grid?
Possibly, until reality sets in. Fact is, we live on a very dirty planet. Tires leave rubber, wind deposits dust and leaves, birds leave crap, deer leave blood and anything made out of a polymer sluffs off electrons leaving it brittle. All that goes into making for less sunlight getting to the cels and reducing the efficiency of the panel. IMHO this is yet another person with a guilty conscience trying to make amends for their existance. Their idea for a durable surface would be better served as a roofing material or similar structure, but for a road, not so much.
That means only 1% of the contiguous U.S. is paved.
That puts the lie to Joni Mitchell’s line, “They paved paradise, put up a parking lot.”
So, we are going to ask guys who can’t shovel dirt into potholes to generate the nation’s power?
Oh, nice idea ... until the roads get ripped up for traffic lights, telephone and sewage lines, water pipes, base settlement, gas lines, new turn lanes, bridges, ......
Seems more practical on sidewalks and patios, where cars don’t park.
I have to wonder how these panels interact with the oils and grease that cars drop on the road.
I think it will be perfectly workable if the only traffic allowed is bicycles - at night.
Another way to get government grant money to the Green Worshipers. There is no way these panels will survive Houston heat and traffic in our 8-month summers.
Industrial strength dumb idea.
What impact will snow and snowplows have on these panels?
Oh, A flat plate ground-level receptor on a constantly rotating planet with a solar elevation angle of a moving star hidden by hundred of millions of constantly moving shadows under cars, trees, buildings, cloud cover, dust, pollen, and haze .....
Is “slightly less” than efficient.
Besides, NO solar panel can generate any more than 1/4 of the day (from 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM) ... So you need to generate 4 times the energy needed at peak power (noon) and then re-create it from ??? storage until the power is needed the remaining 3/4 of the 24 hour day.
They won’t fix roads now so why would they go for this? They will not encourage roads under the principles of agenda 21.
It could definitely use more work and thought.
Rise and Fall of the Third Reich!
"Pay attention to your enemies, for they are the
first to discover your mistakes."
Oh great, so if I fall off my bike, I’ll get a large electric shock. :^/
So...does this mean no more pot holes??? Im in!
Almost immediately. Road surfaces, especially those that carry heavy trucks, take an incredible beating.
Thinking out side of the box is what Solyndra did. Sometimes it is important to understand the science behind what you are doing before deciding that you have the answer.
Yes UV degradation is a problem but it is not the only problem...The voltaic cells are not going to see any appreciable amount of ‘sunlight’ (energy) at all. The plastic is going to absorb somewhere around 90% of the incoming (hence the degradation of which you speak).
One problem with solar panels is that when they are connected in series they are limited to the output of the worst producing panel. To connect them in parallel requires an inverter for each parallel connection which means a lot more equipment. For this road concept to work every “panel” would need to be connected in parallel otherwise the output would basically stop any time a car was driving on any part of series connected set of panels (not to mention the effect of dirt, snow, clouds, etc.) The amount of equipment necessary even for the small areas rendered would have astronomical costs.
Many years ago, Phillips Petroleum Company came up with a brilliant idea. Instead of crappy patches of cracks and potholes on roadways that only last a year or two, they came up with the idea of rolling out a Kevlar sheet on the roadbed before laying down the asphalt.
They figured that even in harsh conditions, roads could last a decade or two between repairs. It would cost more up front, but more than pay for itself in short order.
What Phillips didn’t count on was that every state in the US had a powerful road repair lobby, often affiliated with organized crime, and backed by strong unions. And such an invention would put 9 out of 10 of these companies out of business.
Which is why today we still have cracked and potholed roadways that get crappy patches every year.
The line in the song referred to a playground that was paved over for a parking lot.
RE: How many snowfalls before the panels are destroyed?
I don’t think it is intended for places that snow.
Seems to me that the roofs of big-box stores would be ideal. 1 - No traffic to destroy them, 2) they are located where people use power, so they reduce the need for transmission lines. Also, it seems the power could be used directly instead of stored for use at night. This would greatly reduce the capital cost. (A hot, sunny day make more power, but needs more power because of more A/C use.)
Bingo. Decent idea. Poor application.
And they are cool to the touch?? And won’t cook a dog that crosses the road? (Calling Joeprobono).
I could see these floating at sea rather than windmills in Lakes and Oceans...which I think is disgusting.
Which is exactly why Obama is out this week crying about the need for more money to fix roads and bridges.
Construction Union Wages have gone up some 30% since Obama became pResident. Any other workers seeing that kind of raise?
I agree with your maintenance concerns. Roads and lots are very expensive to maintain over time with the technologies that we currently have. As of about 5 years ago, Germany dialed in the correct ROI ratio considering highway maintenance. Winter’s kill roads more than traffic, especially asphalt. Concrete is far more resilient but also more expensive. Moving toward this technology would be EXTREMELY expensive to install and I would guess more so to maintain. As in all things with “alternative” energy, an honest ROI would suggest this is many years ahead of practicality, regardless of how much energy could be produced.
Since we are talking about innovative concepts... Embedding small electromagnets and circuitry in concrete roadways could also be used to produce energy. The passing cars could be used by the system to produce some electrical current. But in this case, you would be stealing some of the energy from moving automobiles (assuming they are built of metal).
When I look up at tall office buildings with the sun glinting off of glass over the entire building, I wonder about solar panels there too. Maybe there is a reason that it hasn’t been addressed.
I was going to say everytime I played Germany won, but thought that might have been an overstatement.
Always loved using the special counters and getting the Turkey draw bringing them into the Axis camp.