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Author Topic: Could this idea change the world for the better?  (Read 3749 times)

Kugai

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http://9gag.tv/p/a5g1r4/solar-freakin-roadways?ref=jfs

This is definitely a good idea.
 
 The big problem is how the oil and energy conglomerates are going to react to this.  I can see them doing their damndest to drag feet, delay or even halt progress.
 
 Like it mentions in the Video, this would have to start out small (driveways, private roads etc) in order for it to gain momentum and defeat those I mentioned above.
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cesium133

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Re: Could this idea change the world for the better?
« Reply #1 on: 22 May 2014, 15:54 »

It looks like they address the issue of how it would stand up to being driven on (though how would it stand up to a snow plow?), but the materials would be really, really expensive, so I don't see this going anywhere. Asphalt is used because it's cheap.

edit -- oh yeah, and for it to continue working it would need to be kept clean. Roads generally don't stay clean for long.
« Last Edit: 22 May 2014, 16:02 by cesium133 »
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Re: Could this idea change the world for the better?
« Reply #2 on: 22 May 2014, 15:58 »

If this could be done it would be amazing. I like the idea of Tron roads.
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Re: Could this idea change the world for the better?
« Reply #3 on: 22 May 2014, 16:27 »

I like the idea India has implemented in some places, using solar panels to provide shade for aqueducts. Reduces waste by evaporation by some ridiculously high amount, and the energy produced, while not stellar, is a nice bonus.

This article from 2 years ago details it a bit more.
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Re: Could this idea change the world for the better?
« Reply #4 on: 22 May 2014, 20:51 »

How does the coefficient of friction of solar panels compare to asphalt?

Can these be built to accommodate road crown?  If not, how will rain water be directed off the road surface?
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Re: Could this idea change the world for the better?
« Reply #5 on: 23 May 2014, 05:43 »

well, what they describe certainly has the rule of cool going for it...



but i'm not really seeing how this would be better for power generation than putting the solar panels next to the roads. or on top of buildings. or concentrated in discreet locations that have get consistently high level of sunlight.

or basically anywhere they wouldn't be spending significant parts of each day in the shadow of buildings, trees, cars, etc.
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Re: Could this idea change the world for the better?
« Reply #6 on: 23 May 2014, 08:43 »

edit -- oh yeah, and for it to continue working it would need to be kept clean. Roads generally don't stay clean for long.
This.  Any place that gets snow or dust storms (or lots of rain...mud and all that) is kind of out of luck.
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jwhouk

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Re: Could this idea change the world for the better?
« Reply #7 on: 23 May 2014, 15:22 »

And trees, and snow, and ice, and...
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Re: Could this idea change the world for the better?
« Reply #8 on: 23 May 2014, 15:25 »

Even just automotive exhaust would be enough to do it. That's the reason snow near roads turns black after it's been sitting for a while.
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Redball

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Re: Could this idea change the world for the better?
« Reply #9 on: 29 May 2014, 08:59 »

And yet none of those obstacles seem like fatal ones. One could think of workarounds for each, or acknowledge they they will reduce output for a time.
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Re: Could this idea change the world for the better?
« Reply #10 on: 29 May 2014, 10:00 »

The economic factor has been pointed out to me as possibly being damaging.
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Re: Could this idea change the world for the better?
« Reply #11 on: 29 May 2014, 10:44 »

There's a lot of elision in that video as to the true infrastructure required to institute this. In it's current form I doubt that the tech would be able to change the world for the better but in general it's an idea worth pursuing at least in the small scale/private sector.

Interesting point is that the amount of glass necessary over the top of the panels will hugely reduce their efficiency, which is still fairly low. Another point would be that in order to produce and install a full national programme would require a huge economic input and something in the region of a 50 year project scale. Before you reach completion, technology will have evolved to the point that continued progress and maintenance won't be viable. That doesn't mean it shouldn't be used and implemented in various scenarios, but a national project wouldn't be a wise choice.

As an aside, the last time I heard, the average US household uses something in the region of 30% more energy than it needs to in order maintain it's current lifestyle [citation not available]. Municipal, business and retail facilities are usually even worse than that. If you really want to effect real economic and environmental change then start by turning out the lights, both literally and figuratively. There is a reason the environmentalist's mantra puts Reduce before Reuse and Recycle.
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Re: Could this idea change the world for the better?
« Reply #12 on: 29 May 2014, 16:31 »

It's been pointed out to me elsewhere that the most ideal usage of this tech might be in parking lots for sports arenas and stadiums, or shopping malls. Imagine say the parking lot of the Rose Bowl being converted to a passive solar array. Or the top level of a parking structure in a downtown area of a city. Or even the parking area for a beach or a state park.
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Re: Could this idea change the world for the better?
« Reply #13 on: 29 May 2014, 21:15 »

Yeah no kidding, outside of game day how often are those lots really filled?
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Re: Could this idea change the world for the better?
« Reply #14 on: 29 May 2014, 21:34 »

It'd be a big draw for colleges, I'd think - being techy enough and help justify (to a certain extent) parking lots.

Heck, the way most colleges are always looking for more parking, this would justify making new lots.
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Re: Could this idea change the world for the better?
« Reply #15 on: 30 May 2014, 06:29 »

Not sure that would really be worthwhile. The base cost of a pre-tarmac parking lot would be prohibitive on payback costs. However, what occurs to me is that, away from the road format, this design offers a more readily ablative and modular installation system for solar energy than the existing panel or tile options. Certainly it could allow for more accessible commissioning on existing structures and surfaces so there's scope there to utilise this elsewhere.
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Re: Could this idea change the world for the better?
« Reply #16 on: 30 May 2014, 06:32 »

People make car parks to put cars in; cars shade the panels.  You are hugely reducing the efficiency of the panels by deliberately putting them where they will get shaded much of the time.  Also factor in the increased cost due to having to make a panel that is still transparent, but can take the impact loads of traffic.  Given the currently still poor economics of such panels in ideal circumstances, doing this would be perverse.
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Re: Could this idea change the world for the better?
« Reply #17 on: 30 May 2014, 06:45 »

The logical thing is what some places are already doing. Setting up in car parks, but as roofs over the parking spaces. Large, otherwise open areas of ground with sky access for the panels to work in. Nothing sitting on top of them to block them. And they act as shade/weather protection for the cars and people coming and going.
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Re: Could this idea change the world for the better?
« Reply #18 on: 29 Jun 2014, 16:22 »

Wouldn't this kind of thing be better as a sidewalk, rather than a road, per se? Sidewalks are often better-maintained than roads, and don't see as much punishment, and yet the surface area (while about 10-35% the size of roads) would be made mostly efficient. The lights could also be programmed per region to spell out names of certain areas.

It's a good concept, but it needs just a tad more refining and narrowing.
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jwhouk

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Re: Could this idea change the world for the better?
« Reply #19 on: 29 Jun 2014, 17:49 »

That was part of my suggestion about parking lots.

Only one thing that I see wrong about this: wouldn't solar radiation generate heat?

Two words: Melted Tires.
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Re: Could this idea change the world for the better?
« Reply #20 on: 29 Jun 2014, 17:50 »

The heat probably wouldn't be any worse than on an ordinary black asphalt road.
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Re: Could this idea change the world for the better?
« Reply #21 on: 31 Dec 2014, 01:15 »

Still having teething problems in the Netherlands.

http://road.cc/content/news/139539-innovative-solar-cycle-path-breaks-poor-weather-conditions

Not catastrophic but not still some issues that would need to be addressed. Would be interesting to see how they would react at the other extremes of temperature.
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Re: Could this idea change the world for the better?
« Reply #22 on: 31 Dec 2014, 11:47 »

Seems like it would work so much better to make solar panel shades over the roads, and have the panels charge up batteries to power LED lights at night.  LED lights are very low power, and wouldn't have to be very bright to be effective if you use proper light cutoffs (that's the mirrored bit in a flashlight that stops it from being just a dim little bulb doing nothing useful).  That way, the panels are better protected from the cars, you can tell from a distance whether the night lights are busted so there's less chance of surprise moose, you would easily run a power surplus (assuming good weather conditions for the panels), and people driving during the day aren't blinded by sunlight, which could reduce the number of car accidents. 

Kugai

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Re: Could this idea change the world for the better?
« Reply #23 on: 31 Dec 2014, 14:40 »

Like all new and innovative tech, it has its bugs, but it should be interesting to see how it goes as they sort them out.
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