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  1. #1
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    Lightbulb A road smooth as glass - because it is

    Now if his numbers pan out, the road is safe and the durability is 3x asphalt as claimed in his FAQ, obviously, do this. And now, back to reality.

    So is this one of those "Jobs, jobs, jobs!" Nancy was yelling about? At least we have..er, had.. a sensible Green Czar to keep our tax dollars from being given to crackpots.

    Hmm, instead of complaining maybe I should see if I can get a grant to develop my river generators I thought up one night while goofing with friends. It's a blending of the classic water wheel and the drive wheel off a paddle-boat which would span rivers...ok, maybe not.



    Solar Roadways Awarded DOT Contract to Pave Roads with Solar Cells
    From Physorg.com



    -- In a first step toward turning highways into energy-generating solar panels, the Sagle, Idaho-based startup Solar Roadways has recently received a $100,000 grant from the US Department of Transportation (DOT). The company will use the money to build a prototype of its Solar Road Panel, made from solar cells and glass, that is meant to replace petroleum-based asphalt on roads and in parking lots.

    The 12- x 12-foot panels, which each cost $6,900, are designed to be embedded into roads. When shined upon, each panel generates an estimated 7.6 kilowatt hours of power each day. If this electricity could be pumped into the grid, the company predicts that a four-lane, one-mile stretch of road with panels could generate enough power for 500 homes. Although it would be expensive, covering the entire US interstate highway system with the panels could theoretically fulfill the country's total energy needs. The company estimates that this would take 5 billion panels, but could "produce three times more power than we've ever used as a nation - almost enough to power the entire world."

    The Solar Road Panels also contain embedded LED lights that "paint" the road lines from beneath to provide safer nighttime driving. The LEDs could also be programmed to alert drivers of detours or road construction ahead, and can even sense wildlife on the road and warn drivers to slow down. The roads could also contain embedded heating elements in the surface to prevent snow and ice from building up on the road. Further, in the future, fully electric vehicles could recharge along the roadway and in parking lots, making electric cars practical for long trips.

    "This feature packed system will become an intelligent highway that will double as a secure, intelligent, decentralized, self-healing power grid which will enable a gradual weaning from fossil fuels," Solar Roadways stated in a recent press release.

    More information: www.solarroadways.com

  2. #2
    CTR man's Avatar
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    Sounds good to me if it can withstand the weight of the vehicles that traverse upon it. Of course the current energy providers of today will balk at it because essentially it would put them out of business.


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  3. #3
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    Sounds good to me if it works and is affordable.

  4. #4
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    Be a better idea to use the energy to power infrastructure inherent to the road.

    Lit signs, self heating defrosters, etc.
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  5. #5
    Jks9199 is online now The Reason People Hate Cops & Causer of War
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    I've got questions about the coefficient of friction and stopping/steering a car on the stuff, too. And road repairs... what happens with potholes or other damage?
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  6. #6
    Xiphos's Avatar
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    I know for years a lot of places have been using ground up glass bottles from recycling programs in their asphalt. It gives the road a shiny, speckled refletivity. I imagine this is some similar compound that let's light through but maintains appropriate friction. I'm curious, like you what it is and how they do it.

  7. #7
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    So if someone did a burnout would that be considered theft because that panel doesn't get exposed to the sun anymore?

  8. #8
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    Feasible or not, gotta admit it's a pretty innovative idea.
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  9. #9
    CTR man's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pgg View Post
    So if someone did a burnout would that be considered theft because that panel doesn't get exposed to the sun anymore?
    How about if they went into a skid on purpose?


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  10. #10
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    Living in Colorado, my question would be, how would it take snowplowing? Every summer in this city there is massive road construction to fix the potholes caused by the edge of the snowplow blade catching on cracks or previously repaired holes and ripping pieces up.

    That and the constant freezing/thawing that widens cracks could pose a problem since the panels will already have gaps
    The world would be much cleaner if blind people carried brooms instead of sticks.

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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChesCopPodz View Post
    Living in Colorado, my question would be, how would it take snowplowing? Every summer in this city there is massive road construction to fix the potholes caused by the edge of the snowplow blade catching on cracks or previously repaired holes and ripping pieces up.

    That and the constant freezing/thawing that widens cracks could pose a problem since the panels will already have gaps

    I was wondering the same thing, being in MN. But I would say that if they can't be heated panels that melt/prevent ice and snow....the snowplows would be obsolete.
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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by jmur5074 View Post
    I was wondering the same thing, being in MN. But I would say that if they can't be heated panels that melt/prevent ice and snow....the snowplows would be obsolete.

    So would the salt that they have to put down by the tons. Then there would be less damage to vehicles also.

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  13. #13
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    Color me surprised by the reaction, I figured glass roads packed with electronics would be a great laugh. Maybe I should work on that paddle wheel some more.

    Hey instead of that, how about my low tech road idea? See, what we do is put water pipes in the road surfaces. During the warm months as the road heats during the day the pressure built up in the system is bled and converted to electricity at small generator stations. The hot water would then be cooled overnight as it cycled through deep underground pipes with some additional electrical generation via the thermoelectric effect with the coolest fluid being fed back to recharge the system as the road pipes cool. In warm climates the system would run year round. In colder climates, a reverse of that geothermic heat transfer is used in winter with fluid cycled through the system to keep the roadway from icing and reduce frost heave in the road beds, both improving safety and roadway longevity! Throw in some green buzzwords and there you have it.

    *looks around for his Government Grant check*

  14. #14
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    I think rooftops would be less problematic, for the reasons already mentioned plus the potential problem of noise and oil buildup. Since it has to be nonporus, it would probably have to have some rather large ridges or bumps to let the oil and water drain without causing hydroplaning. The oil and rubber buildup would also cause a loss in efficiency.

    Using LED's instead of reflectors is an interesting idea, except for when a whole section of them goes out due to damage or something resulting in a power failure. Reflectors don't have that problem, but they do get proken off. I assume the LED's would be recessed so they can't be broken off.

    I think the idea deserves some trials if they can overcome the obvious problems!

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  15. #15
    jmur5074's Avatar
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    I believe they can build them to withstand vehicle travel, but I wonder how they would hold up to a vehicle roll over or crash, or a loose load falling from a truck etc.
    No one has greater love than this, to lay down ones life for ones friends - John 15:13

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  16. #16
    Twan007's Avatar
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    or an 18-wheeler carrying haz-mat exploding...

    or just an 18-wheeler carrying fuel (there's no way they can knock out all the petroleum based fuel needs) that explodes...

    can it withstand the heat/corrosion/etc that comes along with that?

    and how will headlights react to that stuff at night - I know that everyone has driven down a highway after a nice hard rain and it's all shiny - the reflection of headlights can be killer...
    -=Twan007


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