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Solar Panel Roads

Marauder
Posts: 3,271
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2/25/2010 12:02:10 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
http://www.solarroadways.com...

If our government must spend trillions of dollars like there's no tomorrow, I think some of that should definitely go to making this idea happen.

I don't think all of what's advertised about it on the website is feasible though, like sensing an animal crossing and making the road light up a warning ahead of time for oncoming cars. If the material is strong enough to support a car, could it even notice the added wait of an animal? and if it can be that fine tuned that small, the wait of a car will almost certainly set it off also.

But that's just a nice bonus. The fact that the power lines could run through this road, and the availability to recharge electric cars alone make this building this a great idea.
One act of Rebellion created all the darkness and evil in the world; One life of Total Obedience created a path back to eternity and God.

A Scout is Obedient.
Volkov
Posts: 9,765
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2/25/2010 1:29:33 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
It's an interesting idea, to be sure, though it certainly is expensive.

As to whether or not its feasible, I think it absolutely would be. This technology isn't in the realm of the impossible, and in fact if we really wanted to implement some serious changes on our transportation systems, this would be a step in the right direction. Not only does it help with power consumption and transmission, it makes our transport system electronic; meaning that we can obtain specific and absolute data on traffic, on weather, on accidents, on usage, for GPS, for communication, etc. etc. It's an idea that is ambitious but seems like the right step to take. What is more, its completely feasible with current technology. We don't need to wait until 2120 to do this sort of thing.
Marauder
Posts: 3,271
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2/25/2010 2:46:31 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
I was under the impression that the glass with all the qualities they need doesnt exist. strong, traction, still translucent, and weather resistant all at once.
One act of Rebellion created all the darkness and evil in the world; One life of Total Obedience created a path back to eternity and God.

A Scout is Obedient.
Volkov
Posts: 9,765
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2/25/2010 2:54:53 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 2/25/2010 2:46:31 PM, Marauder wrote:
I was under the impression that the glass with all the qualities they need doesnt exist. strong, traction, still translucent, and weather resistant all at once.

I didn't mean it was necessarily convenient at the moment, but I do believe we have the technology right now to create something like that, or at least work it out in some way as to fix those issues. It may take the form of a direct glass surface with those qualities, or it may be that you need to create a system of layers which are translucent or embedded or what have you. It's certainly within our powers to do now, though.
tkubok
Posts: 5,044
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2/26/2010 6:26:46 AM
Posted: 6 years ago
The only forseeable problem, apart from cost, that i see from this is the weight limit. Ever notice the fact that the patch of road where Busses frequently stop, is different in composition to the rest of the road? This is because bus stops, especially those that have frequent traffic, are paved with cement, which takes alot of strain, as opposed to asphalt which cannot handle long periods of weight.

I suppose the second possible problem could be maintenance. Solar cells decrease in efficiency when there is dust/scratches on the cover, and since this is.. .well, a road, youre gonna have alot of this. it might not be practical to have this, if you need to repave every year or two. The sheer cost alone would throw a country into debt.
I-am-a-panda
Posts: 15,380
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3/1/2010 1:49:36 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
Agree with what Volkov says, it's electrifying the roads, and helps give a 100% accurate traffic feed. It can also be instantly updated.

It also gives the capacity for intelligent speed limits (e.g. the speed limit changes depending on the amount of traffic).

I'd say this will initially be implemented in motorways, where it will need to be most durable due to trucks, lorries, and such.

But overall it's a really cool idea which could be a big leap to solving our energy crisis. I mean, if it can fuel a recharging station every 100 meters along a stretch of road, and all cars are electrified, it's problem solved.

The only problem is that in rush hour, it will get almost no sunlight, and when it is most exposed it is darkest. And obviously it can't be used in countries like Iceland and Norway.
Pizza. I have enormous respect for Pizza.
RoyLatham
Posts: 4,488
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3/21/2010 9:40:00 AM
Posted: 6 years ago
The idea is nuts. Most of the cost of an asphalt road is not in the asphalt, is in all the earth moving, roadbed construction, drainage, bridges, and right-of-way costs preliminary to installing the asphalt. They assume only the cost of conventional solar panels and ignore all the energy storage, conversion, and wiring cost. Conventional solar panels cannot be driven over. They assume 15% solar panel efficiency, but that's only achieved with a perfectly clean panel that is aimed at the sun in full sunlight. Roads get dirty, and are sometime shaded (by buildings in a city as well as trees), and roads are covered by snow, ice, and mud. Roads are not aligned to face the sun. If they got 2% efficiency, they'd be lucky.

Solar is nowhere near being economically competitive, even under optimal circumstances. It might be reliable enough for supplying the afternoon peaking in southwestern cities like Las Vegas and Phoenix, but in general the cost of storing the power makes it impractical. Superconducting transmission lines would be needed to get it from coast-to-coast, and that only adds a couple hours.

The best bet for solar is as a roofing material. It's easier to keep clean, it's generally unobstructed, and glass is a reasonable roofing material. But we still need a cheap way to store the power.