Jump to content
Search In
  • More options...
Find results that contain...
Find results in...
Sign in to follow this  
Hellbent

Solar Frickin Roadways

Recommended Posts

The hexagonal shape gives me serious Metro Nui vibes, personally.
Seems like it would be a good idea, though I don't know enough about it to make any conclusions. It'd look seriously badass, though.

Share this post


Link to post

We don't have enough money to fix roads let alone fill them with solar panels.

Also, solar panels are inefficient anywhere outside of the desert and space.

Share this post


Link to post

I like the idea, but I'm skeptical on the actual implementation. The roads around here are already in bad condition when they are paved with cheaper (compared to solar panels) asphalt. The whole idea seems like it would be a logistical nightmare. Still, doesn't hurt to attempt it, if it works, it would be great.

Share this post


Link to post

The town where I live is beginning to hideously expose its age. Major sewage issues and roadwork everywhere. Streets gotta be dug up, potholes filled, repaved etc. Main roads in my town have been shut down for months with apparently no end in sight. If you've ever had to commute on a highway that's being revamped with a new exit or an extra lane, you've probably noticed that doing the slightest upgrade to a road that gets a lot of traffic takes FOR FUCKING EVER. If roads were also privatized in the process then maybe there's a shot but government funded projects involving tearing up existing roads sounds like a nightmare.

Also I'm skeptical about the job creator argument considering it's taking the pothole-filling, road repaving, stripe painting, street sweeping, snow plowing, and snow shoveling jobs away. I don't think the people in that job market will have their skill sets easily transferred into installing solar panels.

Share this post


Link to post
Technician said:

We don't have enough money to fix roads let alone fill them with solar panels.

Well, then your choice is simple: you need to contact your local bureaucrats and let them hear your grievances.

Also, solar panels are inefficient anywhere outside of the desert and space.

Yeah well they are inefficient regardless of where they are actually, in space or elsewhere.

My favorite part in this video is how they very quickly glossed over cold weather in 2 seconds with some drivel about keeping the surface "a few degrees above freezing". Did anyone do the math on figuring out just how much fucking energy it would take to do that for thousands of miles of roads? Or consider how worthless it would be in an actual snowstorm?

Share this post


Link to post

I could see it being a real cool thing in parking lots but major arteries, probably not

Share this post


Link to post

a couple of car accidents, unforeseen growing and shrinking under heath and cold, some drifters, heavy trucks, And you will end up with a broken roadway electrical system everywhere.

I have yet to see a road in perfect condition for more then half a month straight after they poured it...

Share this post


Link to post

This would be my ideal for proper solar power plant.

Quast said:

Yeah well they are inefficient regardless of where they are actually, in space or elsewhere.

In earth, atmosphere takes away some of the power that comes from Sol, plus the day/night changes, but in space, that problem is solved. Only problem I can think, are weak photovoltaic arrays, possible debris and the radiation damage to systems. And of course, they can't catch all the power. :)

Share this post


Link to post

That's a pie in the sky project. It has no chance of ever doing what it claims to be doing.

As far as being a "green" project, nope. Solar panels already take a long while before they offset the environmental cost of building them; but they're also adding computer stuff inside and LEDs and heaters, and they need a tougher, thicker glass than used on regular solar panels, so it'll be overall most polluting to produce and less efficient. I'm not sure these things have a lifetime long enough to offset the initial cost.

Definitely not if they were to actually submit them to heavy traffics, with dozens of trucks driving over them day in and day out. It might work for a parking lot in a small village where you only ever have small cars driving slowly, but then if it is sized appropriately then most of it will be obscured by parked cars anyway.

You want solar power, put solar panels on the roofs. On the roads is a dumb idea.

Share this post


Link to post

Solar Roadways?

How about solar-reflection towers instead?

Maybe go to Mars and harvest power there. I hear there's lots of oil on Phobos. We better give it some freeedo-

nope. Not going for that joke.

Share this post


Link to post
Quast said:

My favorite part in this video is how they very quickly glossed over cold weather in 2 seconds with some drivel about keeping the surface "a few degrees above freezing". Did anyone do the math on figuring out just how much fucking energy it would take to do that for thousands of miles of roads? Or consider how worthless it would be in an actual snowstorm?


It actually says they use a small percentage of the energy they generate to keep warm. So they're theoretically self-sufficient. Not sure how well that would work in REALLY cold places but I bet for the majority of kinda icy roads it would work great.

40oz said:

Also I'm skeptical about the job creator argument considering it's taking the pothole-filling, road repaving, stripe painting, street sweeping, snow plowing, and snow shoveling jobs away. I don't think the people in that job market will have their skill sets easily transferred into installing solar panels.


This is the real problem with the video. Creates jobs sure, but destroys others.

Still, this is interesting.

Also, you could make a real life frogger game on a highway.

Share this post


Link to post
AirRaid said:

It actually says they use a small percentage of the energy they generate to keep warm. So they're theoretically self-sufficient.


Now hold on there. I also had a problem with that part of the video. Let's think for a minute. Modern roads are pretty good at converting sunlight to heat. Probably a lot better than these panels are at converting sunlight to electricity. Yet, we don't have the miracle of ice-free roads every winter. Why not? Because there's not enough sunlight coming down to do that. Even if it was all 100% converted to heat there still wouldn't be enough to melt the ice on a very cold day.

Share this post


Link to post

It wouldn't take the road repaving job away. Far from it.

Pavement was originally made of stones or slabs. Those hexagonal cells are high-tech paving stones. Given that they are more frail and have a much more limited lifetime, compared to a granite block, you're going to have to replace these things daily.

And hahaha solar landing strips. Yeah, sure, they'll take to exhaust wash and landing jumbo jets very gracefully. Especially if they have to take giant cargo plane or military bombers or Marine toys, all of which cause pressures or temperatures that would destroy most civilian roads in a single landing. I don't see glass, no matter how tempered, taking this sort of abuse better than asphalt concrete.

And the temperature in particular would fry the electronics inside.

Share this post


Link to post
Gez said:

Given that they are more frail and have a much more limited lifetime, compared to a granite block, you're going to have to replace these things daily.

Are we always on this trend towards low-quality profit-making material? Electronics went this way; light bulbs seem to be like this; now roads too?!

Share this post


Link to post
AirRaid said:

It actually says they use a small percentage of the energy they generate to keep warm. So they're theoretically self-sufficient. Not sure how well that would work in REALLY cold places but I bet for the majority of kinda icy roads it would work great.

For icy roads in los angeles, sure.

Share this post


Link to post
AirRaid said:

It actually says they use a small percentage of the energy they generate to keep warm. So they're theoretically self-sufficient. Not sure how well that would work in REALLY cold places but I bet for the majority of kinda icy roads it would work great.

Probably much more than a "small percentage" during winter. The daily output of the solar panels on my roof varies from 40kW on a sunny summer day to less than 2kW on a wet winters day - that's with no houses, trees or parked cars shading the panels. Assuming the equivalent of an electric blanket on low is use to prevent freezing, that's about 600 watts per hour for my 33 square metres of panels, which means during winter they'd often be drawing power from the grid.

Share this post


Link to post
printz said:

Are we always on this trend towards low-quality profit-making material? Electronics went this way; light bulbs seem to be like this; now roads too?!

In this case it's more a question of appropriateness than of quality. A road is something that must be designed to endure constant abuse through the passage over it at various speeds of various vehicles exerting various pressures and friction. Roads are exposed to all kinds of weather so they need to handle contraction and dilation caused by temperature changes, they have to endure vehicular accidents, growing tree roots underneath, fires, fuel and solvent spills, mudslides, falling trees and poles and rocks, the occasional earthquake or cyclone, etc.

Asphalt concrete handles most of these things relatively well. It's certainly highly resistant to pressure, and it's supple enough to handle contraction and dilation. It also remains usable when damaged lightly: creases and pot holes aren't enough to make a road unusable.

Tempered glass blocks with embedded electronics and solar panels, though, wouldn't handle most of these things as well. And in many cases, even if it would remain serviceable as a dumb road, it would lose the power producing, pressure sensing, and fancy display capabilities, requiring an expensive replacement. Really I can only see them being used, at most, for bike lanes and sidewalks. Definitely not airstrips and highways!

Share this post


Link to post

What pisses me off and saddens me about modern technology is that it seems to have reached a point of relative stagnation and over-reliance on hype and buzzwords, and any improvements are only quantitative or consist in mashing up existing technologies randomly: most "innovations" we get to hear about is someone pulling some idea out of his ass that inevitably involves solar panels or some other "green" technology, at least a dozen current buzzwords, social media and mobile apps. Oh and drones. Lots of drones. Possibly powered by solar panels and controlled by an iPhone or Android app, and sending tweets in real time -_-

And the worst part is, that as long as something sounds "green" and uses enough current buzzwords, it will inevitably get disproportionate exposure, even if it may be technically flawed and useless beyond redemption.

Share this post


Link to post

Everyone should be laughing at this. This has to be the most epically bad idea I've ever heard in my life. Pretty much every law of physics has to be ignored in order to begin to visualize something like this ever working.

No seriously, this idea is like every Troll Physics comic put together and multiplied by 10. The fact that this is being seriously discussed should make each and every one of us depressed and ashamed as a species.

Share this post


Link to post

There's absolutely no reason to put the panels on the tarmac itself, where cars and 18-wheelers will stress them, grime and dirt will accumulate etc. and you need to stop traffic to service them, and where they can turn into serious hazards if they break and give-in. Potholes on the road are bad enough, we don't need them to contain sharp shards of broken solar panel too.

If the intention was to make e.g. road lighting self powered or whatnot, just put the panels to the side of the road. Whatever advantage may come from just lying them on an already flat surface (I suspect that this was the rational), will be more than offset by my points above.

Share this post


Link to post
40oz said:

Main roads in my town have been shut down for months with apparently no end in sight. If you've ever had to commute on a highway that's being revamped with a new exit or an extra lane, you've probably noticed that doing the slightest upgrade to a road that gets a lot of traffic takes FOR FUCKING EVER. If roads were also privatized in the process then maybe there's a shot but government funded projects involving tearing up existing roads sounds like a nightmare.


Sounds like a certain Milwaukee interchange for as long as I've known it, aka, my whole life.

Share this post


Link to post
AirRaid said:

It actually says they use a small percentage of the energy they generate to keep warm. So they're theoretically self-sufficient. Not sure how well that would work in REALLY cold places but I bet for the majority of kinda icy roads it would work great.


If you are ready to believe this, then maybe you're interested in a certain method I have which allows you to make $40.000 trades by investing only $100...

If the solar panels get their energy from the Sun, and with cold weather the SUN ITSELF can't keep them warm enough to be efficient, exactly how will they self-warm using only a FRACTION of the energy they manage to convert from the Sun?

Ok, maybe it's moot to debate what's obviously a hoax/elaborate troll for physicists and engineers alike (and maybe lure a few naive investors), but wow, man, that was just too bad for me not to comment.

Share this post


Link to post
Maes said:

If the solar panels get their energy from the Sun, and with cold weather the SUN ITSELF can't keep them warm enough to be efficient, exactly how will they self-warm using only a FRACTION of the energy they manage to convert from the Sun?

Obviously they'd drain power from the grid...

That thing would make the energy consumption skyrocket. All that for a so-called "green" project.


The video AndrewB embedded addresses this and other points, including some that haven't been touched in the thread, such as how the LED signs would be invisible in broad daylight, how the glass would very quickly become smooth (and opaque) from the constant grinding of dirt and tires, making it a real safety hazard especially on a rainy day, and of course it gives some numbers that allow to really demonstrate the sheer lunacy of the idea. It's something that cannot work.

He even had the courtesy of suggesting an alternative: cover the roads with a roof, and put real solar panels on these roofs. Better energy yield, not a traffic hazard, much cheaper without putting a computer in each slab, still prohibitively expensive which is why it hasn't been done yet.

I just regret he forgot to mention the pollution from manufacturing angle; because it's always a great point to bring up in "green" projects in which people put their hopes to "save the planet".

TL;DR: this is pretty much a scam. Maybe not out of dishonesty, but at least out of foolishness.

Share this post


Link to post

Coming up next, the energetically self-sufficient car. It produces all of its power by small wind turbines attached to it, which turn as the car moves. And how does the car move? But, obviously, by the energy produced by the turbines....

Share this post


Link to post
Maes said:

Coming up next, the energetically self-sufficient car. It produces all of its power by small wind turbines attached to it, which turn as the car moves. And how does the car move? But, obviously, by the energy produced by the turbines....

Share this post


Link to post

Sadly, it's not a hoax
Solar Roadways has received two phases of funding from the U.S. Federal Highway Administration for research and development of a paving system that will pay for itself over its lifespan. We are about to wrap up our Phase II contract (to build a prototype parking lot) and now need to raise funding for production.

Share this post


Link to post

Are you fucking kidding me? This is actually getting wind, even from government?

Huge solar power plants all over Nevada would be even more handy than this... utopia project.

Share this post


Link to post
RUSH said:

So are the floors in E1M1 actually solar roadways?


Apparently the company making them will get so powerful in the future that it will be able to lobby the UAC to install them indoors and on the Moons of Mars, of all places. Either that, or this company WILL become UAC one day O_o

Share this post


Link to post

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in



Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  
×