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Inventor pushes solar panels for roads

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#1 spacer

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Posted 11 July 2014 - 14:12

I thought this was a really awesome idea. We really need to get away from fossil fuels, and this could be a great solution.

 

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — The solar panels that Idaho inventor Scott Brusaw has built aren't meant for rooftops. They are meant for roads, driveways, parking lots, bike trails and, eventually, highways.

 

Brusaw, an electrical engineer, says the hexagon-shaped panels can withstand the wear and tear that comes from inclement weather and vehicles, big and small, to generate electricity.

 

"We need to rebuild our infrastructure," said Brusaw, the head of Solar Roadways, based in Sandpoint, Idaho, about 90 miles northeast of Spokane, Washington. His idea contains "something for everyone to like."

 

http://finance.yahoo...-060111443.html




#2 Skiver

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Posted 11 July 2014 - 14:17

As long as this works fine as a road surface it really is a great idea. I imagine it won't produce enough energy to completely remove our need on fossil fuels but if it could reduce out consumption even by the smallest amount it would help. 



#3 Brian M.

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Posted 11 July 2014 - 14:19

I would not want to be braking in the rain on that surface!

#4 TPreston

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Posted 11 July 2014 - 14:21

Its a great idea in the same way perpetual motion machines and magnet motor generators are, Sounds great to people who know nothing about physics and engineering.

 

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#5 tsupersonic

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Posted 11 July 2014 - 14:31

This idea is nothing new...I'm no engineer, but I could understand how this would be complex to a) design and b) implement in the world's roadways. Still it would be very cool if we could pull this off. Hopefully it would be a modular design such that we could replace panels easily if they were damaged or if we needed to replace them with more efficient solar panels. 



#6 Nagisan

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Posted 11 July 2014 - 15:00

Sounds like a good idea but the whole thing with asphalt is it is cheap (at least compared to this), so when a road is broken it is cheaper to fix.

 

Plus a huge aspect that it hasn't touched on (from what I've seen), cars are designed to drive on asphalt in various conditions.

 

  • What happens when you have flooding or ice storms or just general crappy weather on a highway going 70 MPH with this road surface and current cars (as in weight/design/tires all designed to work properly on asphalt)?
  • What happens to the road surface with it freezes over and they throw salt on it and scrape the surface with snow plow trucks?

 

Those kinds of conditions tear up asphalt roads constantly, surely it won't be good for these solar panels either (which are going to cost a LOT more to replace than patching some asphalt or even entirely resurfacing the road).



#7 Ironman273

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Posted 11 July 2014 - 15:02

This again?

 



#8 Hum

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Posted 11 July 2014 - 15:06

Never going to get far.



#9 em3

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Posted 11 July 2014 - 17:36

I'm studying to become and engineer and this is not realistic for a lot of reasons I think, at least for now. Mainly because of the materials needed in the solar panels (expensive rare earth minerals) and the amount of processing required to make a single plate. It's just not realistic for large long roads, perhaps a short walk way to your house.

#10 Nagisan

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Posted 11 July 2014 - 17:44

I'm studying to become and engineer and this is not realistic for a lot of reasons I think, at least for now. Mainly because of the materials needed in the solar panels (expensive rare earth minerals) and the amount of processing required to make a single plate. It's just not realistic for large long roads, perhaps a short walk way to your house.

While I am not an engineer I am knowledgeable enough to draw the same conclusion. I think it could be awesome if they used it for sidewalks or something. Think of the extra power that could generated by converting all the sidewalks built throughout towns/neighborhoods into solar panels. Sure it wouldn't be enough to meet the power demands, but it would surely generate enough offset a chunk of our requirements. They could even feed it straight into the power grid (most sidewalks are next to or nearby power lines) to send the power elsewhere.

 

It would still be pretty expensive but it wouldn't require nearly as much maintenance as roadways would, and they could even offer tax breaks to homeowners (or business owners) that take it amongst themselves to upgrade their walkways with these solar panels.