Solar panel roads?

  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    May 23, 2014 12:03 PM GMT
    http://www.solarroadways.com/intro.shtml




    A few things I didn't see discussed:

    where/how do they store energy for nighttime lighting? Cloudy day after cloudy day?

    Is there a glass that can handle the heat, freeze, impact of a 120,000+lb semi?

    It would be so much better than having to drive a rain-soaked roadway at night with the poor-quality reflective paint they use nowadays...since they stopped putting ground-up glass in the paint for some reason.

    I'm all for it, but there are questions yet.
  • MikeW

    Posts: 6061

    May 23, 2014 5:35 PM GMT
    I started hearing about this a few months ago. It is a cool idea but I'm skeptical of how practical it is when one begins to consider the cost and environmental impact of production.

    Yes there would be tremendous benefits to having almost unlimited 'free' solar energy. A quick google suggests there are over 61,000 square miles of roadway and parking lot in the US. That's a surface area larger than the state of Georgia.

    Now try to imagine how much energy (cost), not to mention time (labor), it would take to cover the state of Georgia in solar panels (and all the electronic connectivity to make them work as advertised). We're looking at a project that could easily take a century to complete. And who is going to pay for it? Where is the money going to come from? What are the environmental consequences of producing it?

    I'm just saying, yeah its a cool idea but the reality is it would be a monumental undertaking. It took 35 years to complete the original Interstate Highway system, and that was *nothing* compared to the complexity of this project.
  • MikeW

    Posts: 6061

    May 23, 2014 6:06 PM GMT
    This video on how LEDs are produced might gives an idea of what I'm talking about. Where do all the materials and chemicals come from? What environmental impact does their production have? Where do the waste materials go?



    IMO, one of the faults of our technological civilization is we're impressed with all the *stuff* we can create but we don't grasp the total environmental impact of producing all this stuff, not to mention disposing of it when it no longer works.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    May 23, 2014 7:36 PM GMT
    Scandinavian countries are well into this technology by years although it isnt out there yet !
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jun 20, 2014 1:09 PM GMT


    And, these followups:

    http://youtu.be/K3ftXinT4jI

    http://youtu.be/KI8c2f8r0UU

    http://youtu.be/ocV-RnVQdcs
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jun 20, 2014 2:37 PM GMT
    I'm very dubious about solar roadways. Among my concerns are:

    - High installation cost, including the service tunnels running alongside them.
    - Theft of panels.
    - Northern snowstorms. The promo says they can help melt snow & ice, but what happens when they get suddenly buried in a heavy storm and drifting snow? And they no longer produce electricity?
    - Questionable durability has been discussed by others.
    - They appear to get their traction from a raised pattern, since clear glass is slick. Does this reduce tire traction? What does this sound like to drive tires over them? What would high pressure road bike tires feel like, diving over those things?

    I could imagine solar panels on patios, decks, plazas, some sidewalks, and other pedestrian areas, even driveways, but not regular duty roadways.

    And if solar is such a great deal, why aren't all our roofs covered in the panels? There's an awful lot of unexploited square footage right there, without the traffic issues.

    The most common thing I see people around here do is install solar water heater panels on their roofs, not electrical. To supplement conventional water heaters, and especially to help heat swimming pools. Rather than use electricity as an intermediary, the sun heats the water directly, reducing the energy normally used for that task. In cooler weather the warmed water can also be directed to indoor radiators, or forced air heat exchangers, for more energy savings.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jun 20, 2014 3:11 PM GMT
    The videos I linked to debunk the entire thing in great detail. The whole idea is ludicrously bad; like he says in one of the videos, it's like frying pans made of chocolate. Somewhere buried in all the hype there may be some good intent, but it does seem more geared towards scamming the crowd out of millions of dollars.
  • tj85016

    Posts: 4123

    Jun 20, 2014 6:06 PM GMT
    you guys need to study some thermo and physics to learn how ludicrous this ideas really is
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jun 20, 2014 9:52 PM GMT
    tj85016 saidyou guys need to study some thermo and physics to learn how ludicrous this ideas really is
    S = k log W
    E = mc2

    Homework complete. Class dismissed. icon_biggrin.gif
  • tj85016

    Posts: 4123

    Jun 20, 2014 10:05 PM GMT
    paulflexes said
    tj85016 saidyou guys need to study some thermo and physics to learn how ludicrous this ideas really is
    S = k log W
    E = mc2

    Homework complete. Class dismissed. icon_biggrin.gif


    yeah that's probably as far as you got
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jun 20, 2014 11:21 PM GMT
    The fact these solar panelled roads will need construction and maintenance will be great for your economy. It will provide highly skilled jobs to people and will help to lift people out of poverty as well as tackle climate change. It's better to spend money on upskilling and investing in people, renewables and infrastructure than to stick with the status quo.
  • tj85016

    Posts: 4123

    Jun 20, 2014 11:56 PM GMT
    sorry the vast majority of the black body (road serface) radiation absorbed from the sun turns into heat - the amount that can be turned into electricity is miniscule - then you have to store it, convert it and transmit it or use it on site
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Jun 21, 2014 12:14 AM GMT
    tj85016 said
    paulflexes said
    tj85016 saidyou guys need to study some thermo and physics to learn how ludicrous this ideas really is
    S = k log W
    E = mc2

    Homework complete. Class dismissed. icon_biggrin.gif


    yeah that's probably as far as you got
    That's as far as I'll admit.