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(Indiegogo)   Concerned about the environment? Want sustainable energy while building a solid infrastructure? An Idaho couple has a brilliant idea, but needs additional funding by you to get this project off the ground   (indiegogo.com) divider line 30
    More: Cool, sustainable energy, environments, solar roadway, Facebook fans, shopping bags, organic cotton, infrastructure, solids  
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1303 clicks; posted to FarkUs » on 10 May 2014 at 10:45 AM (45 weeks ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



30 Comments   (+0 »)
   
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2014-05-10 02:11:05 AM  
I was hoping for millions of potato clocks and I am leaving disappointed.
 
2014-05-10 02:35:07 AM  
Damnit, I had this idea about 4 years ago. No money or expertise to do anything about it, though.
 
2014-05-10 02:36:42 AM  
Solar Roadways was chosen as a finalist in the IEEE Ace Awards in 2009 and 2010.


Oh... I guess they thought of it first after all.
 
2014-05-10 10:59:13 AM  
At a cost of only 1 billion dollars per mile!
 
2014-05-10 11:07:00 AM  
Just a good a greenlight as the one from last night...
 
2014-05-10 11:08:43 AM  
Like life-saving drugs, space exploration and even brand new jewelry designs -- the initial investment is high but the future's trajectory is changed.
 
2014-05-10 11:10:10 AM  

yakmans_dad: At a cost of only 1 billion dollars per mile!


Sounds like a perfect way to spend money!

/not kidding
 
2014-05-10 11:12:58 AM  
It's a neat idea, but there are likely good reasons no one has done it.

Off the top of my head:
Roads are dirty, dirt over your solar panels = inefficient solar panels.
Roads need a rough surface for traction, solar panels need a smooth surface so that the incoming lights isn't refracted.
Making the solar panel tough enough to drive over will reduce efficiency as you have to put thicker coatings over the panels.
Road rash sucks, falling off your bike and getting electrocuted as you crack into a solar panel sucks even worse
 
2014-05-10 11:20:28 AM  
Sorry, all my extra money goes to the guy building that flying car.
 
2014-05-10 11:20:58 AM  
Looks to me like the project is all on the ground.
 
2014-05-10 11:23:55 AM  

yakmans_dad: At a cost of only 1 billion dollars per mile!


But enough about Iraq.
 
2014-05-10 11:25:32 AM  

RogermcAllen: It's a neat idea, but there are likely good reasons no one has done it.

Off the top of my head:
Roads are dirty, dirt over your solar panels = inefficient solar panels.

Actually, the higher the use rate the cleaner the surface, so you start by installing these on high-use roads
Roads need a rough surface for traction, solar panels need a smooth surface so that the incoming lights isn't refracted. I thought it was reflection, not refraction, that reduces PV efficiency...not so?
Making the solar panel tough enough to drive over will reduce efficiency as you have to put thicker coatings over the panels. The developers have already addressed that
Road rash sucks, falling off your bike and getting electrocuted as you crack into a solar panel sucks even worse. Diodes, how do they work? IOW, a damaged tile can't electrocute you.
 
2014-05-10 11:29:12 AM  

Stone Meadow:  I thought it was reflection, not refraction, that reduces PV efficiency...not so?



The light would have to go through the surface of the coating. Both reflection and refraction would contribute to diminishing the signal that gets down to the PV.

I am pretty sure that old roads are grey due to both reflection and refraction.  I'm not an expert in surfaces though.


I actually thought of something similar as well.
 
2014-05-10 11:36:17 AM  
It is an interesting thing to test.
 
2014-05-10 11:43:36 AM  
I've asked before on this idea, wouldn't it be cheaper just to build a tall carport-style roof over the road and put the panels there? you could put the street lights under it and reduce light pollution plus snow and rain water on the road would be reduced as well.
 
2014-05-10 11:56:10 AM  
RogermcAllen:
Road rash sucks, falling off your bike and getting electrocuted as you crack into a solar panel sucks even worse

Oh, come on. A solar cell has a voltage of at most 0.5 volts, when it is conducting current.  So to even get the mildest perceptible shock, you would have to somehow touch two cells that were 50 cells in series apart.
 
2014-05-10 12:03:39 PM  

mr lawson: I've asked before on this idea, wouldn't it be cheaper just to build a tall carport-style roof over the road and put the panels there? you could put the street lights under it and reduce light pollution plus snow and rain water on the road would be reduced as well.


The solar generating aspect of these will be minimal.  The overall area efficiency certainly would not be over five percent.  There is a ton of much lower hanging fruit in terms of real estate for putting up solar panels than roads, and like you said in parking lots a solar canopy car park makes a lot more sense.  In order for these to be viable, they would need other attributes to make them worthwhile (eg, increased durability, ability to do dynamic lighting or ability to melt snow).  I was skeptical when I first heard about these three years ago, and I'm still skeptical.  If they keep trying to market these as a great way to generate electricity, they'll just become a rallying point for conservatives that are looking for examples of the government supporting questionable green technology.
 
2014-05-10 12:05:27 PM  
One part of this system which would probably be an even bigger boon: since it's modular, damage to the roadway could be fixed by removing only the plates affected and setting new ones down instead of needing to make a nasty asphalt patch that wears differently or even repaving the entire section of road like we're currently forced to do (I base this on PA roads which are total shiat). Even if this system gets very low efficiency for PV, the first gen should make up for it with sheer area coverage and subsequent generations would undoubtedly shoot for yet higher efficiency and durability.

/not a shill, just trying to point out features/aspects for discussion
 
2014-05-10 12:14:37 PM  

Hollie Maea: [snip] In order for these to be viable, they would need other attributes to make them worthwhile (eg, increased durability, ability to do dynamic lighting or ability to melt snow).


Sorry for doublepost, but I see someone didn't RTF site, as that's exactly what it says it has built in including durability under 250k lb loads, built in heating elements, LEDs for dynamic signage (especially intelligent parking space configuration for parking lots as mocked up in a video), etc. If I weren't unemployed and about to try for my own dream career (Nuke engi for that molten salt/thorium hoopla) I'd gladly throw a fin or so to this campaign.
 
2014-05-10 12:28:33 PM  

Argonreality: Hollie Maea: [snip] In order for these to be viable, they would need other attributes to make them worthwhile (eg, increased durability, ability to do dynamic lighting or ability to melt snow).

Sorry for doublepost, but I see someone didn't RTF site, as that's exactly what it says it has built in including durability under 250k lb loads, built in heating elements, LEDs for dynamic signage (especially intelligent parking space configuration for parking lots as mocked up in a video), etc. If I weren't unemployed and about to try for my own dream career (Nuke engi for that molten salt/thorium hoopla) I'd gladly throw a fin or so to this campaign.


Of course I read the article, which is why I mentioned those specific things.  I just want more data on how well they will actually work in those regards.  Forget about the solar aspect--there are way better things to do with solar cells for the moment.
 
2014-05-10 12:30:41 PM  
I want to see a face-off between the Solar road and the Piezoelectric road:

http://youtu.be/ik5-60BcMb4
 
2014-05-10 01:13:05 PM  

Spadababababababa Spadina Bus: I want to see a face-off between the Solar road and the Piezoelectric road:

http://youtu.be/ik5-60BcMb4


You could combine both technologies inthe same product.
 
2014-05-10 01:29:09 PM  

sithon: Spadababababababa Spadina Bus: I want to see a face-off between the Solar road and the Piezoelectric road:

http://youtu.be/ik5-60BcMb4

You could combine both technologies inthe same product.


In the video, the developers stated the additional funds were for adding load cells and piezoelectric components. Load cells to make the roads smarter, and obviously, piezoelectrics to generate even more energy.

I like the idea that the roads would prevent ice and snow build up. The design also looks to eliminate a lot of rain water through specific channels, reducing hydroplaning hazards. The fact that they are residents of a place with a real winter is encouraging... too often, highway design is left to civil engineering firms from California, with no thought to the difficulties of driving on winter roads (I just love driving on icy cloverleafs and curved overpasses! Thanks, thoughtless California engineer!)
 
2014-05-10 03:46:00 PM  
It seems like durability would be a big piece of the problem. Roads that are made out of 1 foot thick reinforced concrete fracture and get worn down. I just don't see how these panels are going to be built in order to be stronger than that.

Also, easier and cheaper to build covered roadways with solar panels. Solves many of the same problems and creates just as many opportunities.
 
2014-05-10 05:20:32 PM  
I've never had a reason to steal a piece of road, until now.

/Make them nuclear powered and I'll kick in a few bucks
 
2014-05-10 05:24:40 PM  
Just because they drove a tractor over it a few times doesn't mean it will stand up to real world conditions.

You can drive tractors, semis and whatever else you want over asphalt with no apparent damage either.  Try doing that for a year though and you'll get potholes.
 
2014-05-10 08:16:32 PM  
Sustainable energy, you say?

thumb7.shutterstock.com
 
2014-05-11 06:30:25 AM  
It's a cool idea.

Not sure it's practical though:  I can't imagine it's sturdy enough for the amount of abuse real roads take, you're leaving a modular component filled with expensive parts out where anyone can steal it, it looks like it'd only work on ground that was exactly flat, etc.  But the big one is going to be cost:

Buying enough solar panels to cover even 10% of the roads in the US would cost absurd amounts of money - start with 6,406,504 km of road (metric to make the calculation easier), assume an average road width of 6m (20 feet) equals  38,439,024,000 square meters. Being very generous and assuming it costs $150 per square meter (less than a solar panel that size costs without all the expensive stuff they're putting in these), that's $5,765,853,600,000.

That's nearly six trillion dollars, and it isn't counting infrastructure, the cost of ripping up all the roads, the cost of installing the panels, etc.
 
2014-05-11 09:21:15 PM  
Was developed in thier own private idaho?
 
2014-05-11 10:48:00 PM  

gfid: Just because they drove a tractor over it a few times doesn't mean it will stand up to real world conditions.

You can drive tractors, semis and whatever else you want over asphalt with no apparent damage either.  Try doing that for a year though and you'll get potholes.


I would think that frost heaving would be a problem as well.
 
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