Saturday, March 20, 2010

This Is Awesome

At the beginning of October, Renewable Energy Magazine reported that Solar Roadways had been granted €69,000 by the US Department of Transportation (USDOT) to develop a prototype for generating electricity by resurfacing road networks with solar panels. We decided to contact Solar Roadways founder and the investor behind this technology, Scott Brusaw, to find out more.

The Solar Roadway™ is a series of structurally-engineered solar panels that are driven upon. The idea is to replace all current petroleum-based asphalt roads, parking lots, and driveways with Solar Road Panels™ that collect and store solar energy to be used by our homes and businesses. The heart of the Solar Roadway™ is the Solar Road Panel™. Each individual panel consists of three basic layers:

Road Surface Layer - Translucent and high-strength, it is rough enough to provide great traction, yet still passes sunlight through to the solar collector cells. It is capable of handling today's heaviest loads under the worst of conditions. Weatherproof, it protects the electronics layer beneath it.

Electronics Layer - Contains a large array of cells, the bulk of which will contain solar collecting cells with LEDs for "painting" the road surface. These cells also contain the "Super" or "Ultra" caps that store the sun's energy for later use. Since each Solar Road Panel™ manages its own electricity generation, storage, and distribution, they can heat themselves in northern climates to eliminate snow and ice accumulation. The on-board microprocessor controls lighting, communications, monitoring, etc. With a communications device every 12 feet, the Solar Roadway™ is an intelligent highway system.

Base Plate Layer - While the electronics layer collects and stores the energy from the sun, it is the base plate layer that distributes power (collected from the electronics layer) and data signals (phone, TV, internet, etc.) "downline" to all homes and businesses connected to the Solar Roadway™. The power and data signals are passed through each of the four sides of the base plate layer. Like the top road surface layer, this layer is also weatherproof, offering protection to the electronics layer above it.

When multiple Solar Road Panels™ are interconnected, the Solar Roadway™, an intelligent, self-healing, decentralised (secure) power grid, is formed.


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