Solar Roadways


Bill Tarling

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Very curious what the cost per mile would be, actual longevity, etc. Since they glazed over that, I imagine it's immense.

I'm skeptical it could actually heat up enough to replace the dozens of feet of snow we get, so then the durability/corrosion resistance.

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Very curious what the cost per mile would be, actual longevity, etc. Since they glazed over that, I imagine it's immense.

I'm skeptical it could actually heat up enough to replace the dozens of feet of snow we get, so then the durability/corrosion resistance.

I've seen a few articles already about both of these topics. Apparently neither the IndiGoGo campaign nor their web site have any information about production, installation, replacement, or other overall costs.

http://www.equities.com/editors-desk/st ... ally-silly

(Note: I'm not familiar with that Equities site and the writing for that article seems rather casual, but it does have all the big points in one place.)

Another point I've seen around is that solar panels that lay flat and/or don't move to follow the sun are much less efficient than those that are angled and/or move to follow the sun. Solar panels aren't that efficient to begin with, so if they're not oriented well and covered in scratches and debris and motor oil from traffic, I really doubt they're produce much energy at all.

Someone in the comments section on Slashdot did some calculations about the snow removal part, and pointed out that once the panels are covered in snow they'll stop generating electricity and thus heat to melt said snow.

http://tech.slashdot.org/story/14/05/15 ... the-future

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  • 2 weeks later...

Even if it was so perfect, that would never work. The power plants, the snow removal workers, and a lot of jobs would be lost if it would really work that well.

So even if a beautiful utopy, I don't think we will ever see that one day on the road.

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Even if it was so perfect, that would never work. The power plants, the snow removal workers, and a lot of jobs would be lost if it would really work that well.

So even if a beautiful utopy, I don't think we will ever see that one day on the road.

Interesting perspective; I was only looking at it from the technological angle. But wouldn't re-doing roadways create some jobs? There's manufacturer, installation, repair, software upgrades...

I think there's a much better location in terms of covering an empty open space with solar panels: parking lot canopies. It's a second use for a lot of space that really only has one function, plus it shelters the vehicles from the elements -- sun, heavy rains, snow, hail. Just think about how much area Wal*Mart (for example) parking lots cover and how much power you could generate from that. Plus you wouldn't have 16-wheelers or moose damaging your panels :P

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At the moment of the installation yes it will make works, but, after that, the road repairs worker will be sufficient. The solar power manufacturers will replace the tarmac manufacturer and the repair workers will probably stays the same number. Software upgrade don't take a lot of poeple. And don't forget to think like a moro... governement. :P

Plus the cost of the installation initial installation will probably discourage most of the countries.

The problem is not the technology in the world, it's the economy and the fear of the changes. If it seems expensive, if it seems risky or if it seems too original, no one will take the risk to use it in a big scale. I won't talk politics or economics problem, that's not the place for and I don't know enough to talk about it, so I'll just say that. :)

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 4 weeks later...
Here in the Netherlands, they're starting a test with something similar: a solar bicycle path. It's just a 100m stretch to see if it's a useful way to generate power, but if it's successful it will see wider implementation. I doubt it will be successful though...

How is your winter climate in that area?

I could see this being potentially viable in high sun areas, such as the American southwest, but in areas with high snow, and gloomy winters, I can't see the value.

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  • 3 weeks later...
Here in the Netherlands, they're starting a test with something similar: a solar bicycle path. It's just a 100m stretch to see if it's a useful way to generate power, but if it's successful it will see wider implementation. I doubt it will be successful though...

How is your winter climate in that area?

I could see this being potentially viable in high sun areas, such as the American southwest, but in areas with high snow, and gloomy winters, I can't see the value.

Sorry for the late response, I don't have much time to spend online these days...

Winters here in the Netherlands are neither very sunny nor heavy in snow. We do get 2-4 weeks of snow some years more than that, but also get some sun and some years quite a lot of sun. But in general, winter is rather gray.

In short, I don't see this as a very good way to generate power in the winter. Especially since the sun will always be low in the sky in the winter and the angle for catching the solar rays is terrible if the panels are flat on the ground. Not to mention the interference from the layer that acts as the actual surface of the road or the dirt that will gather on top of that!

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From both a casual and environmental standpoint, solar roadways sound viable in generating electricity for consumption and in addition to the existing power grid.

However, from a technical view, it would be next to impossible to generate power needed for the LEDs, heating elements, etc. much less contribute significantly to the power grid. Remember, we're also not considering the direct and indirect costs associated in implementing solar roads.

Dave (an Electronics Engineer) provides his unique oversight in the project here, be warned it can be quite technical, but most people should understand it.

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  • 1 month later...

I call it SFF and not SFR. As it stands for Such a F......g Fraud.

Both Dave the Australian and Thunderfoot have made for everybody technically quite clear that the cost will be hundreds of times greater than the gain from the electricity, in the best case. As i have heard of it for the first time i asked: WTF!!

If photovoltaic cells would produce enough energy for cover their costs, in this position, and the return of value would be around 10 years, then EVERYTHING would be covered with this things. And the LAST thing that would be covered by them would be the streets and not the first, because of the wear and tear that a street has to endure.

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I read about those in the news and nice video. Truly it will change the world in a better way and if the manufacture of those solar panels will be in industrial numbers then of course it will be cheap for countries to buy and use them.

But....there are too many "interests" in the way that they won't allow this change. Who are the "interests" you may ask? Big Oil companies and other big companies that their main role is to build roads and/or materials for the roads.

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Last edit: 10.2 at 20.40 CET.

@astrea_anerada

You have no understanding of manufacturing processes, economics and physics. And who has no knowledge, tends to believe in something, and it does not matter in what the persons believes. In your case that is the conspiracy theories.

Photovoltaic systems have a higher cost in energy to produce, then they will spare / give in their live time. The cost of energy is not only the production of the cell, but also for installment, maintainance of the system and the storage system for the produced electricity.

The life cycle is dependent on the technology of the modules, but varies between 3.5 years to a max of 25 years. The ERoEI or EROI of the module in energy is paid back after 1-3 years, dependent on the place of its instalment, this may be even larger if the system falsely installed lowering the gain of electricity per meter of the modul, like lying on the ground. The best current 'green' technology, which has a fast/good return of investment and low maintainance cost, is the windturbine. Everything else produces more CO2, then it saves us, and also costs much more.

Why do you think we have only some few prototypes of solar energy plants that are subventioned and only in places with high solar radiation and many solar hours per year?

Roads have a low maintainance cost, because blacktop is so simple and cheep, in every aspect. And even with their low maintainance cost, there are so many streets all over the world in a high state of decay. And the problem of maintainance becomes even more drastic, if you have places with a high erosion or difference in temperature.

A street is under a constant erosion and under stress of other physical influences, that have to be brought into any economic consideration for such a system. Therefore it would be much cheeper and the return of investment would be much faster, if photovoltaic systems would be installed on roofs or house walls that are directed towards the sun. And even that is currently rarely the case, because it is not economical in any aspect.

The energy cost to produce and maintain such a system is still outweighing the energy gain from this system. To produce and consume the energy is one thing, and to store it is an other. The grid does not store any energy, we would have to build and mantain also the storage system. This case is very simple for a Coal Oil power plant, but not for the green technologies, because they produce rarely the energy in times, places and quantity like we want or like we need it.

The transport of energy is the next problem, because of some physical laws the electrical energies 'pollutes' over distance and let us lose energy, therefore we transport electrical energy in very high voltage, around 10kv to 1000 kv.

The oil industrie gives a f... about photovoltaic systems, because the two industies will not intersect each other for at least a long time to come.

The bitumen / blacktop is more a wasteproduct from the oil industy, that can be sold very cheep. But the industry can crack it chemicaly to higher form of oils like Diesel, and sell it for higher price.

The current photovoltaic systems are not efficient enough, but in the future the price will be low enough and efficiency will be high enough, to pay off for larger installed systems. Then you will see photovoltaic systems on all roofs and even house walls facing the sun. The last place that the photovoltaic systems will be installed will be the streets, if there is no more sufficient cheap surface left.

Note:

If we substitued glass for some kind of transparent plastic, the Oil industry wouldl love this, because we make plastic from oil, and that will give them much more money, then to produce bitumen. I'm not against such systems, but current technologies are to expensive and therefore cannot not support such system. And this Roads made under current technological conditions will ruin everyone. We still need at least 15-30 years to make it affordable.

Currently this project is pure nonsense, like the thorium car or the plastic from air. Smarter people then we think, over such problems, and even they have no valid solutions. Thanks to Thunderfoot i know that such a nonsense has been spread, but i do not need Thunderfoot to tell me that this is nonsense.

And if you are interested in making the world a better place, then learn first someting about energy cosumption and lower your own energy footprint. And then show people how they can do it, because this saves them a lot of money and is good for the enviroment. This money can be then given to charity or better projects.

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@Dark, I don't say that this has to do with any "conspiracy theories" I just try to "enter" into billionaires (Oil Company owners) minds ^_^" (who wants to lose money anyway ^_^)

Lets say that I am a billionaire Oil company owner and I only care how to make more money than what I already have. If I "hear/read" that there is a new idea that someone found in order to save energy and not to have to use any Oil products and stuff, then I will do everything that will pass from my "hands" not to allow it to "work" if that would make me lose money or as you suggested in your "Notes" to try to reach them and tell them to use plastic instead of glass.

Anyway, I do agree with you that this type of futuristic materials we won't see it in our future but maybe in our children's children future they will be use them as Oil levels will drop (I think we still have 150 years left as new areas are be found that have Oil?!?). And as you said, yes, we all have to think of how to protect the environment in order to "try and leave this world a little better than you found it" (quoted from Robert Baden-Powell Chief Scout of the World) for our children and their future.

Still, Solar Roadways is a great thing to have :)

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@astrea_anerada

Naturally the Oil companies belong to the worst kind of company's, right after the pharmacy and tobacco companies.

And it is true that everyone wants to have money and not to lose it. But Oil products are used everywhere, therefore they will always win like a bank. Where are the Oil products in use?

In ever cosmetic, every plastic, every car drives and uses oil products, everything from heating, electricity to food is made out or of with a certain percentage of oil.

But there are many conspiracies surrounding the Oil companies, obscuring the real issues.

And one of the conspiracies is that, the Oil companies are holding back technologies that let us conserve oil and propellants. And that is total nonsense. In many universities, they try every day to invent systems, that let us conserve and recylce the oil and its products.

Also if we would use less oil they would only need to raise the price for oil to compensate their losses. And they could do it because we are so dependent on oil. The Oil companies dominated and own all the fossil energies including fracking gas, with the exception of coal, and they have their fingers also in the plastic production or are even the major producers. Like Exxon who is leading in the production of polyolefin (PE, PP, PMP, PB-1, POE, PAO, PIB, EPR, EPDM, PVC, EPDM rubber).

...suggested in your "Notes" to try to reach them and tell them to use plastic instead of glass.

Some sort of plastic would be a better substitute for glass, but i have not called out yet the biggest enemy of this project. So let me invoke this terrible enemy: The CAR / TRUCK itself. Every vehicle is driving with fossil propellants and oils to keep the friction low and is driving on rubber tires.

The propellants produce in the burning process, dark Soot. The oils are dark or will be darkened by mixing up with dust. And the tires will rub off the surface of the road, into the surface of the road. It doesn't matter if the surface is out of plastic or glass, it will lose its transparency and will become dark, and that will render this project useless.

It would be better for them to sell this as roof cover, or as wall cover, because that could be managed, and that would be really awesome. Tron Roadways f... this, we could have cinema and tv commercials on all walls, Blade Runner would be a joke against this. But this also requires lighter bricks with lower maintenance costs, with higher intensity of LED and with photovoltaic cells that have a longer life span and higher efficiency. For a road it is currently absolute nonsense.

For a Road we need cars that are levitating some cm over the surfaces of the Road and that are driving with electricity, without moving parts that use Oils. Also the road would need a self cleaning surface, like with the lotus effect.

Further the Road would need underneath a high-voltage line, and with every 100 km a power station that can store and clean up the electricity. This is not just the bricks, but a fusion and development of entire systems. It is a generation project, as a gift from a generation to the next generation.

And this can be made only on a surplus of resources. Like the investment of calories in TLD for equipment or exploration.

I think we still have 150 years left as new areas are be found that have Oil?!?

I was also once a M.King Hubbert's Peak Oil believer, but the more you know the less you are sure about certain things. Also oil is not the end of things, but more a beginning. Fracking gas is the next thing, that is currently growing very fast, and can supply us for the next 50-400 years with energy (according to some estimates).

The Oil has also unconventional sources like the Oil Sands and Bitumen conserved in stone and make up around 30% of the world Oil resources. Then we have the not used Extra Heavy Oil and Heavy Oil sources, which are not used because they are currently not profitable enough, which are also another 40% of all sources.

Conventional Oil reserves make up only 30% of all the Oil reserves.

The Coal / Garbage / Sewage and other wastes to Oil synthesis could supplies us with Oil for the next 500 years, and the renewables could also do it for the next 1-2 Billion years. Then the next great thing will be methane ice conserved in the oceans of the world and siberia. In nearly all of this things the Oil companies have their money invested. They will not lose much on bitumen sales, but will gain much more on the production of other things.

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