SOLAR forum: Solar Roadways Generate Power

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Views: 5, Replies: 2 » Jump to the end
Jun 5, 2011 10:45 AM CST
Name: Susie
Phoenix AZ
Not to be missed. This is a very good video with a very substantial project. (sent to me by friend)
"There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle." --Albert Einstein
Jun 15, 2011 10:43 AM CST
Name: Steve
Prescott, AZ
It's an interesting idea, but I am skeptical. I think the idea of glass as a road surface might have some merit, since glass is made of cheap, abundant materials. I imagine that it might possibly be made strong enough. It can probably be textured to provide traction superior to that of current roadways. And I applaud the "out of the box" thinking.

Two things need to happen for this to pan out.
1) glass panels need to be made thick, strong, crackproof, and cheap - almost as cheap as concrete.
2) the price of solar cell material must come down by more than a factor of ten.

Poured concrete road surface suitable for cars ( i.e. driveway) costs about $5 per square foot. Solar panels, installed costs about $187 per square foot using non-ruggedized glass.

My guess is that when solar panels reach $5 per square foot, they will adorn every roof in the US, before they pave the roadway. The reason is that the steps taken to ruggedize glass solar panels to the point where they resist cracking under all kinds of loads including the extreme thermal loads that roads endure, and the terrific loads of heavy trucks must surely make them expensive in comparison to other kinds of applications. But certainly, when thick, strong, crack resistant glass structural panels can be made for the cost per square foot of a concrete road surface, this idea will begin to look good.

The idea of building signaling capability into roads is interesting. That probably has more near-term applications.
Jun 15, 2011 4:46 PM CST
Name: Susie
Phoenix AZ
Hi Steve,
I posted this information in the Solar Forum a few weeks ago. Maybe you saw it. In Amsterdam solar "bike trails" are already in use. Granted a bicycle with the weight of a human and a few books is less than an 18 wheeler but progress is being made along these lines. I think we're already experiencing a shortage of concrete due to developing China so any new technology for road building should be explored. Building anything you can think of will never get cheaper than it is today unless it's a new technology. I'm from the Stanford University community. In about 1970 a publicly used road on the campus property was found to be in need of expansion due to ever increasing traffic. It was awful. I could actually take 30 minutes to travel about 3 miles if it was a Saturday (shopping), Big Game (football) and normal traffic. By today's calculations it would have been CHEAP to expand the roadway. The neighborhoods petitioned for decades against expansion and they won. Guess what. The roadway was expanded about 5 years ago... and there was less land to use for expansion because the University added a lot more housing and Medical Center buildings over the years of indecision. The problem we had here was "a failure to communicate". No one could see the logic in the vision. I imagine that malady of the mind is rampant and we really should avoid being stuck in the present like the mistake made in 1970. Sad thing is, I drove the road about 3 years ago. Traffic is worse than it was in 1970. The San Francisco Peninsula is ready to burst with commerce and population.
"There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle." --Albert Einstein

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