What Say To Turning Roads Into Solar Receptors?

For a change, here is a great idea, even if it is more about globull warming than power production

Walk barefoot on an asphalt road and you’ll soon realize how good the substance is at storing solar heat – the heat-storing qualities of roadways has even been put forward as an explanation as to why cities tend to be warmer than surrounding rural areas. Not content to see all that heat going to waste, researchers from the University of Rhode Island (URI) want to put it to use in a system that harvests solar heat from the road to melt ice, heat buildings, or to create electricity.

“We have mile after mile of asphalt pavement around the country, and in the summer it absorbs a great deal of heat, warming the roads up to 140 degrees or more,” said Prof. K. Wayne Lee, leader of the URI project. “If we can harvest that heat, we can use it for our daily use, save on fossil fuels, and reduce global warming.”

The research team has four main ideas for how that harvesting could be performed.

Those four ideas are

  • Cells on barriers (on top of the concrete dividers)
  • Water pipes in the road (reduce icing, used to heat or provide hot water for nearby buildings, or even turned to steam at a power plant)
  • Thermo-electricity (creating electricity be connecting hot and cool areas)
  • Electronic block roadways (basically turning the roads into solar receptors)

Turning the roads into solar receptors would have the added benefit of reducing the localized temperatures: instead of the roads holding heat, artificially increasing the effective temperature, they would be at much lower rates. Can you imagine replace most of the roadways with, basically, solar panels? In fact, as the article points out

Idaho’s Solar Roadways has been working on just such a system, although according to Lee, a driveway made with the blocks cost US$100,000 to create.

Yes, it is damned expensive. But, with time, better technology, the costs will come down. I’d say all the parking lots and such in D.C. should be replaced to practice what they preach, but, they would surely spend 5-10 times what the real cost would be. Maybe some of those alarmists who’ve made tons of money off climate alarmism could do the same.

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3 Responses to “What Say To Turning Roads Into Solar Receptors?”

  1. captainfish says:

    Ok, let’s get back to a bit of reality here. First off, the heat from a frozen roadway would be minuscule to heat a pipe of water to heat nearby buildings and bridges. The only time during winter when the roads would heat up enough, and then heat up the ground below enough, and then heat up the water in the pipe enough, would be….. AFTER many solar days and by that time, the snow would be gone.

    Now, if you are talking placing the pipe deep enough to get heat from the earth, then you are bypassing the statement that the sun heats the roadway and are now relying on underground heat.

    Ok, second, from the solar-roadway article:
    He also believes the solar panel roads could last up to three times longer than the current petroleum-based asphalt surface

    Yeah, right. PUH-LEEZ. The reason our roads don’t last very long is because of the beating they get from weather and vehicular traffic.

    But, here is what is necessary:
    He says the viability of the project lies in finding a glass surface for the panels that has the same traction qualities as asphalt, can withstand a fully-laden semi trailer braking hard at 80mph, can withstand the heat and cold, reduce glare while absorbing the sun’s rays and house the LEDs that make road signage so much more efficient.

    Seriously. Can you make a glass transparent enough and thin enough to allow passage of photons while able to withstand that much daily impact and damage?
    Think of the wiring involved.
    How often does wiring go bad?
    How often does your computer go down on you?
    There are massive electronics involved here.
    Then there are batteries.
    Where will you store the batteries? How will you protect them when we can’t protect our street light’s copper wires.

    And you want to place EXPENSIVE solar cells out in the open on public roads? BYE-BYE!! What about the replacement due to wrecks? Are there going to be a stockpile of solar cells to fix these damaged areas? Or, are these cells special order? (hahahaha,, perfect example of a special order part)

    And then we have:
    But he says he’s spoken to scientists at Penn State University’s Materials Research Institute who told him they’d have no problem designing glass to meet his specifications (they just wouldn’t put a time limit on it).

    Yeah, its possible… just not in our time.

    And here he gets all pie-in-the-ski for his $100,000.
    If adopted, Brusaw claims, solar roads would provide enough energy to replace [sp] to replace all centralized power stations, including coal and nuclear-powered electricity generation plants.

    Reminds me of the talk of cold-fusion. Or, the benefits of wind power. OR the solar-cell generation taking over America’s coal plants in the 70s. Or, any other moon-bat “I have the answer for your stupidity” dream.

    Seems like that the Feds wouldn’t pay until they saw the development of a non-slip glass that doesn’t glare, that doesn’t crack under hot and cold, and doesn’t crumble under massive tractor trailer forces. And we don’t even have to get in to wrecks.

    You get a wreck and many times the wreck causes major damage to the roadway. Are they going to have these expensive solar road panels on stock? Or will the road have to be turned off while an asphalt patch is laid down, and then remain off till the solar-road-panels are produced and installed at a later date?

    Right now, there is a means of patching roads to extend their lifespans. Not so with GLASS Solar panels.

    You have a hard time getting into and out of your driveway now with snow or ice on it? Now put glass under it and then add a bit of water.

    And, what of the massive amounts of vehicle fluids dropped on the roadsurface each and every day? That will eat in to the road surface and degrade its performance over time. Are there going to be new jobs created to do “glass cleaners” on the highways?

    I think a more sound idea is to put a massive solar panel up in space and then connect it back down to earth via a laserbeam from the moon. (ahem)

  2. Yeah, some of what he is talking about is way beyond current technology or capabilities at this time, but, I do like the idea of research this, starting out small, seeing where it goes.

  3. captainfish says:

    I like starting out small. And starting out with the states or universities or private industry paying for the research. But giving this guy $100,000 without any proof of concept is stupid and smacks of (AGW-like) corruption.

    I like the idea of solar panel roofing material or glass-wall replacements. Why not place solar panels on metal decorative awnings on buildings and schools?

    But again, we come to the problem of cost.

    If it was economical, efficient and reliable, then businesses would be falling all over solar panel construction.

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