Solar Roadways Could Power USA - Times 3
Scott and Julie Brusaw have been working on the idea of a solar roadway comprised of interlocking panels. After a decade of work, they're taking to Indiegogo to ask us to fund the next phase of their project.
(Solar roadways video)
Each interlocking hexagonal segment is covered with toughened and textured glass that's capable of withstanding 250,000 pounds. Beneath that, you've got a solar panel, a series of LED lights and a heating element that'll keep the ice and snow off the hardware in winter. The lights are used to replace conventional traffic lights, offering constantly updating safety warnings and guide lines that can adapt to traffic conditions on the fly.
The system would require a trench running down one side, which would hold the power cables, but could also be used as the backbone for a potential new high-speed data network. As each panel would also be connected, it'd instantly report a fault back to a maintenance engineer, and also track its location, should someone decide to steal one for their own nefarious uses.
If all of America's major roads were surfaced Solar Roadways, enough electricity could be generated to provide power for everyone - times three.
I don't have a reference for this idea, but apparently there is one. An anonymous commenter left this message in 2008 on another article:
Long time ago Analog carries a short story that had a similar invention. Written in the days when Japan was wiping the floor with American maufacturer, a Japanese businessman was feeding humble pie to a CEO. His engineers developed a cheap solar collector that was durable enough to apply to roads. In essence the highways became giant collector grids. Cars tapped into the power using induction coils.
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