Quantcast

How Solar Panels Could Transform Parking Lots and Roadways Around the World

Business

Are roads and parking lots covered with solar panels that feed power back into the grid actually feasible or does it sound like a green-energy fairy tale?

It's been about eight years since an electrical engineer and his counselor set out to show that updating our traveling infrastructure with renewable energy is more than a fantasy. Now, they're on the precipice of releasing their prototype for Solar Roadways, a system that would replace asphalt on our roads, giving them an energy production purpose.

With built-in LED lights, materials sturdy enough for vehicles and heat that would prevent the buildup of excess snow and ice, Solar Roadways is an ambitious project, to be sure. But Scott and Julie Brusaw have believers in the federal government—they have received two phases of funding from the U.S. Federal Highway Administration for research and development, including $100,000 in 2009.

"Half of our prototype parking lot is mono-crystalline, while the other half is poly-crystalline," Julie Brusaw told Gizmag. "The parking lot is equivalent to a 3,600-watt solar array. The power collected is dependent upon the amount of sunshine received. So as with all solar, it will produce more in some parts of the country and world than others."

The prototype parking lot is at the couple's electronics lab in Idaho. Textured glass covers the solar panels and circuitry, and the couple says the lot is fully operational. Next, the Brusaws will add covers for mounting holes, mastic between panels and software for LED patterns.

Solar Roadways' glass exceeded all requirements during rounds of testing for traction, load and impact resistance in civil engineering laboratories around the country.

In 2010 and 2011, the concept claimed first place in two General Electric competitions—the Ecomagination Challenge for "Powering the Grid" and the Ecomagination Challenge for "Powering the Home," respectively.

[blackoutgallery id="332285"]

Here's how the Brusaws envision things once their technology is brought to the market:

"Everyone has power. No more power shortages, no more roaming power outages, no more need to burn coal (50 percent of greenhouse gases)," they write on their site.

"Less need for fossil fuels and less dependency upon foreign oil. Much less pollution. How about this for a long term advantage: An electric road allows all-electric vehicles to recharge anywhere: rest stops, parking lots, etc. They would then have the same range as a gasoline-powered vehicle. Internal combustion engines would become obsolete. Our dependency on oil would come to an abrupt end. 

"It's time to upgrade our infrastructure—roads and power grid—to the 21st century."

——–

YOU ALSO MIGHT LIKE

Brooklyn Whole Foods Wows With Solar, Wind, EV Chargers, Greenhouse and More

——– 

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Pexels

By Gavin Van De Walle, MS, RD

Medium-chain triglyceride (MCT) oil and coconut oil are fats that have risen in popularity alongside the ketogenic, or keto, diet.

Read More Show Less
Pexels

By Bijal Trivedi

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a report on Nov. 13 that describes a list of microorganisms that have become resistant to antibiotics and pose a serious threat to public health. Each year these so-called superbugs cause more than 2.8 million infections in the U.S. and kill more than 35,000 people.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Rool Paap / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

By Franziska Spritzler, RD, CDE

Inflammation can be good or bad depending on the situation.

Read More Show Less

By Joe Vukovich

Under the guise of responding to consumer complaints that today's energy- and water-efficient dishwashers take too long, the Department of Energy has proposed creating a new class of dishwashers that wouldn't be subject to any water or energy efficiency standards at all. The move would not only undermine three decades of progress for consumers and the environment, it is based on serious distortions of fact regarding today's dishwashers.

Read More Show Less

By Emily Moran

If you have oak trees in your neighborhood, perhaps you've noticed that some years the ground is carpeted with their acorns, and some years there are hardly any. Biologists call this pattern, in which all the oak trees for miles around make either lots of acorns or almost none, "masting."

Read More Show Less
Sponsored

By Catherine Davidson

Tashi Yudon peeks out from behind a net curtain at the rooftops below and lets out a sigh, her breath frosting on the windowpane in front of her.

Some 700 kilometers away in the capital city Delhi, temperatures have yet to dip below 25 degrees Celsius, but in Spiti there is already an atmosphere of impatient expectation as winter settles over the valley.

Read More Show Less

The Dog Aging Project at the University of Washington is looking to recruit 10,000 dogs to study for the next 10 years to see if they can improve the life expectancy of man's best friend and their quality of life, as CNN reported.

Read More Show Less
Warragamba Dam on Oct. 23 in Sydney, Australia. Sydney's dams have been less than 50 percent full as drought conditions continue across New South Wales. Brook Mitchell / Getty Images

While Sydney faced "catastrophic fire danger" for the first time earlier this week, and nearly 130 wildfires continue to burn in New South Wales and Queensland, Sydney now faces another problem; it's running out of water.

Read More Show Less