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Pilsbury

solar roadways crowd funding

This video showed up on my Facebook page and I love the idea, the possibilities including the multi game sports court, disco pavements and instant road warnings are ingenious so please have a look
https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/solar-roadways#home
Mistress Rose

Looks a good idea in principle, but I would like to see a small length tested with heavy lorries going over it for a year or two first, especially if the surface it was laid on was uneven or subject to heave or shrinking as a lot of roads round this way are.

If it stood this test, and could be made for an economic price it really could revolutionise road construction.
Hairyloon

Where is the sense in paving the roads with PV when there is so much vacant roof space?

Certainly it is a good idea for some places: the configurable sports yard is pretty clever.
Pilsbury

I guess because the roads are all pretty much owned by one company and once the negotiaions are done and dusted tuere is not likely to be to mich dispute.
Nick

Well, reading the pages, it's been tested, with big lorries, for a long time, in sun and snow.

And roads are easy for an authority to replace and roofs are less so.
sueshells

Looks like an awesome idea.
dpack

a better idea than some big energy projects and we get roads where the potholes get mended
Aeolienne

Pardon my ignorance, but how well do solar cells function when they're made dirty by tyre tracks?
Nick

http://solarroadways.com/Research/Research
dpack

i recon i would have used rude words upon discovering i had fried 640 chips Laughing

the output per lane mile is pretty good, what it needs now is a full scale trial in the real world of road surfaces to discover the weak points.
Slim

I'm glad they're trying stuff out.

But I think we're all right in keeping a critical eye.

I've always been a bit skeptical of the idea, particularly as more efficient solar set-ups don't require all that much surface area of the world, if we were to have proper energy transmittance infrastructure (which the Chinese might start advancing).

Not a confidence booster that the findings of their research work stops in 2015.....

Also, this bit:
Quote:
Each full size hexagon panel measures four square feet, so there would be 15,840 panels per lane mile using a 12-foot wide lane. If each four of these produced 52397Wh in six months, then the same four would theoretically produce 104,794Wh per year.[emphasis mine] That's 26.1985kWh per year each. Multiply that by 15,840 panels, and the road would produce 414.984MWh per year per lane mile. This is with only 69-percent solar cell coverage. With 100-percent coverage, the output would be 601.426MWh per year per lane mile.


Is not very heartening to me. They're not specifying which six months they're multiplying off of. If it's the winter months, than great, the production will be even higher. But it seems like they're most likely to be taking summer months' production and just doubling it and painting a very overly optimistic picture. Now add short winter days, traffic (and its shading), and dust, and snow, and salt.

Their testing involves temperature swings, and "freezing it in a block of ice". As someone from an area with actual harsh winters, that doesn't cut it. These roads don't get frozen in a static block of ice, they have water seeping in to every nook and cranny and freezing, then being pushed around with plows and melting and freezing again, and salt corroding every bit of metal. There is a reason you don't find many old cars in New England - if they weren't garaged every winter they rust away!

Anyhoo, there's my skeptical rant. Really do hope they make advances that are useful for their own purposes (clearly there are many locales that don't have tough winters like mine), as well as advances that are useful for other developments (maybe they make a really solid modular roof tile design out of their product - though solar city may have beat them to the punch)
dpack

the jump from semi tech lab scale to full scale real world operation is often a steep learning and redesign curve.

as you say the interlocking style might well be applied to roof tiles etc avoiding the loads,salt etc that a road surfaces entails.
Slim

Their debut doesn't instill much confidence either, unfortunately:

http://solarroadways.com/Blog/Show?b=4

I realize that any startup has a big hurdle to get past before proving viability, and you need to push boundaries to make real advances. But I'm afraid I think the value here will be in the lessons from their work, rather than the dreams of the creators....
gregotyn

I haven't read the all gen, but if as I understand it, the road way is to generate electricity all year, then surely in the winter that "juice" could be used to save salting the roads? The amount of solar in winter is obviously limited, but 'they' tell me even a dull day will generate power albeit reduced. Now anything which saves salt being spread and rotting vehicles has to be all good? I expect my theory to be shot down.
Slim

I haven't read the all gen, but if as I understand it, the road way is to generate electricity all year, then surely in the winter that "juice" could be used to save salting the roads? The amount of solar in winter is obviously limited, but 'they' tell me even a dull day will generate power albeit reduced. Now anything which saves salt being spread and rotting vehicles has to be all good? I expect my theory to be shot down.


Let's just play it out.
Here's my guess:
If the roads are snow covered (and maybe more of a problem: at night which is maybe 2/3 - 3/4 of the short winter day) there is no light for PV production, so any time there is heavy snow the power is coming from elsewhere on the grid to heat them so that they can produce PV power again. It would be electric resistance heat, which is a fairly big energy draw. Especially since the evaporating snow/ice melt will be cooling the road surface at the same time.
It would require some sort of monitoring to know when to turn on (maybe any temp near or below freezing with the presence of moisture?)

I definitely like the idea of abandoning salting roads, and I really want to see more solar get installed everywhere.

However, this just seems like a difficult way to do solar in general.

I guess I'm just more of the opinion:
"let's put solar on top of all of our existing many acres of parking lots and parking garages before we try to completely re-invent our road infrastructure"
gregotyn

Thankyou for your reply, Slim, I am learning!
I don't think any new build in the UK today should have other than solar heating for water, space heating if practical and massive amounts of insulation to save heat losses, maximizing as much heat as possible.
I take the point about the use for the snow on the roads sort of catch 22. But to illuminate all car parks and roadways with solar is something within our grasp now, just need the finance to be put in place. I have seen some road signage in one or two places illuminated with solar, so there is some progress. I can't remember where-just thought at the time what a good idea.
jema

where do you even start with what new builds aught to have compared to the awful dolls houses that pass for houses these days?
Mistress Rose

The only problem with car parks illuminated at ground level is that the light shines upwards. In this area we have an observatory, so everything is downlit. I agree with you about solar water heating Gregotyn, and where possible solar cells on roofs. Insulation is a good idea, but I am always concerned about having to have houses pretty well shut up tight for the winter as it does cause condensation and general fug in a house. I think all houses should have chimneys too, as being able to have a fire in case of electricity failure is a very good idea. The houses next to us have false chimneys. For some reason they thought plastic chimneys on the top looked pretty, but as far as I can see their only use is for pigeons nesting and we have too many of them.
gregotyn

I have seen at a private car park solar panels on the top of tall lamp standards-solicitors where else?-must have some sort of battery to take it in by day and give it out at night. And solar energy should be made compulsory for all council chambers for lighting to show how much it saves and so they would put it into all their building as an automatic thing just see how little the rates increase then ha ha. Their premises always seem to be with lights on all the time regardless of time of day. The printers next to where I work have covered their roof in solar and I keep meaning to ask if it was worth the cost-or rather how much they have saved.
Mistress Rose

Several of the road signs in our area that flash to warn you to slow down have a combination solar and wind turbine ( a very little one) on them to provide for the illumination. Most of them seem to work quite well, and it saves having to run a cable to them.
Nick

http://inhabitat.com/france-officially-opens-worlds-first-solar-panel-road/france-wattway/
Slim

It's not looking good for solar roadways

http://dailycaller.com/2017/03/07/americas-first-solar-roadway-is-a-total-disaster/

Admittedly, this is only one company, but then again, they've sucked down 3.9 million in funding, which I personally would rather have seen go to installing panels - which already exist with today's technology and have been proven - on top of roadways, or parking garages, or what have you (or updating the grid to better handle solar generation).

Some choice quotes from this discussion: https://www.reddit.com/r/Futurology/comments/5yp2l0/americas_first_solar_roadway_is_a_total_disaster/

Quote:
"The Road to Hell is paved with Good Intentions."

That saying has been around in one form or another pretty much since the dawn of humanity. Can we stop giving people credit for having good intentions?

These people didn't do their homework, and have taken millions of dollars from taxpayers and gullible optimists. Then other people did the homework for them, and they persevered against the naysayers to continue on and waste more millions of dollars.


Quote:
From another perspective, if anyone tries this again they will have to prove they are better than the precedent that was set by this. There is now undeniable evidence, instead of educated speculation that it is a bad idea or at least needs some major redesign is before it is viably fundable for a reattempt. There could be active data and improvements being made as this is, and always was, a pilot project.


Quote:
Seriously roads are long narrow things you would be surprised how little space it takes to cover the same as a road. If you had a 1km by 1km square that would be equivalent to 166km of a 6m wide road. Even if we take 24 meters for a motorway we still get a lovely 44km of road covered by a 1 by 1 km.
Mistress Rose

Unfortunately this failure won't do the technology any good. We will have to see if others work better.
jema

Making something dual purpose e.g. road and solar is I suppose an odd idea when there is so much roof space going to simple waste.
Slim

I guess I just don't see the advantage. We have solar that works very well for generating power (and is constantly being improved with new iterations). It is not designed for being driven over however.

The things that we have designed to be driven over need constant maintenance and replacement, and that's without sensitive electronic components. Why is it being pushed to combine the two and create a whole load of more engineering that needs to be done to try to make something that likely isn't as good at either job as the two individual components on their own?
dpack

the good thing is it wasn't very expensive to find out it is not a simple to do as they thought it might be and the idea can rest along with flying cars and teapot hats.

the other good thing is that a few folk might have thought " blahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh would be much better" and be right Cool
Slim

A less pessimistic discussion of a more successful pilot project Very Happy

http://www.treehugger.com/solar-technology/dutch-solar-bike-path-declared-success-expanding.html
Mistress Rose

Pavements and cycle paths make more sense than roads as they don't carry such heavy loads. Judging by the complaints of cyclists not using cycle paths round here, it would be a prime test site as they are rarely used. Very Happy
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