Use Roads As Solar Energy Collectors

A Dutch company is touting a system that can collect solar energy form a 200 yard stretch of road and a small parking lot. The excess energy goes to heat a 70-unit apartment building in the village of Avenhorn.

A similar system is used in the nearby city of Hoorn; heat stored during the summer from 36,000 square feet of pavement keeps buildings in an industrial park warm in the winter.

These systems use a buried latticework of pipes held in place by a steel grid. Asphalt covers it; its black color makes it the perfect solar heat collector (as anyone who has walked barefoot on asphalt on a summer day knows). As water in the pipes is heated, it is pumped deep under the ground to natural aquifers where it maintains a fairly constant temperature of about 68 F. The heated water can be retrieved months later to keep the road surface ice-free in winter.

Overall, the system saves about fifty percent on heating bills.

A similar system is used on a bridge in Japan.


(Bridge in Japan uses stored summer heat)

This is a closed-conduit system, in which heat-radiating pipes built in the bridge surface and 378 piles (42 rows and 9 columns) embedded 1.5 meters apart into the riverbank are connected through a circulation pump. During daytime in summer, the circulation pump operates automatically as the bridge surface becomes hot, carrying the heat to the underground storage piles. This system warms to 35 degrees Celsius a section of the riverbank measuring 15 meters wide, 64.5 meters long and 23 meters, and maintains the temperature until December for snow melting.

Finally, take a look at the very nicely done sequence of pictures at Invisible Heating Systems, a UK company that installs this passive solar heating system in parking lots.


(Asphalt being applied to UK solar heating road)

Via Use of Asphalt Paved Surfaces for Solar Heat[Slashdot].

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