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Off Grid Energy Independence
Posted on February 2, 2011 by  &  with 1 Comment

Solar powered smart road of the future

The Solar Roadway is an intelligent road that provides clean renewable energy using power from the sun, while providing safer driving conditions, along with power and data delivery. Co-founders and co-inventors of the Solar Roadway, Scott and Julie Brusaw based in Idaho USA, predict that the Solar Roadway will pay for itself through the generation of electricity along with other forms of revenue and that the same money that is being used to build and resurface current roads can be used to build the Solar Roadways.
Each Solar Road Panel measures roughly 4 meters by 4 meters and contains a microprocessor that monitors and controls the panel, while communicating with neighbouring panels and the vehicles travelling overhead. The inventors suggest that this provides a communications device every 4 meters on every road which could be used for example to warn other drivers of a car which is moving across a centre line and various other speed control issues. The top of the Solar Road panels is made of glass and Brusaw is looking to top glass researchers to develop super-strong glass that would offer vehicles the traction they need.
According to the inventors, the Solar Roadway creates and carries clean renewable electricity and therefore electric vehicles (EVs) can be recharged at any conveniently located rest stop, or at any business that incorporates Solar Road Panels in their parking lots. The Solar Roadway on the other hand, would replace current centralized power stations as the Solar Roadways would become the power grid eliminating the need for utility poles and relay stations.
Businesses will be able to have solar paved parking lots, enabling them to provide their own power and also to charge their customers EVs. Their parking lots will be safer at night with the light provided by LEDs within the road panels, whilst the LEDs could provide customizable parking configurations.
Homeowners, aside from producing their own power would also be able to melt snow off their driveways without having to shovel it. The inventors predict that solar driveways could have many features, including LED lit address markers and the ability to add customized wording.
The LEDs on the solar roadway could also be programmed to move along with cars at the speed limit, to warn speeding drivers, or to paint warning signs into the road. Central control stations would be able to instantly customize the lines and words in real time, alleviating traffic congestion and increasing safety.
The inventors say their Solar Roadway has many applications and advantages from main roads to driveways, parking lots, bike paths, sidewalks and runways. The Federal Highway Administration has given Brusaw a $100,000 contract to develop the invention and Brusaw hopes to demonstrate a smart-road parking lot in the spring.
Credit: Solar Roadways
Image source: the RAB Experience

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Posted on: February 2, 2011

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