Solar Roadways Coming To Route 66 - 'Road To Tomorrow'

Categories: Tech, Mobility, Energy, Power Solutions, News

For years, eco-entrepreneurs Scott and Julie Brushaw have been developing solar panels that can replace asphalt and generate energy as cars drive over them. Not until recently, however, did their brilliant innovation gain traction in the U.S.

Clean Technica reports that the Solar Roadways will be installed on Route 66 as part of Missouri’s Road to Tomorrow initiative. The ultimate aim of the initiative is to focus on improvements like incorporating renewable energy and smart highways.

Solar Roadway’s panels, manufactured in the form of interlocking hexagonal tiles, are made of tempered glass. Each tile has a solar cell, a heating element, and LED lighting. So think, first, about a sidewalk that captures solar power could light up at night, melt snow and ice, and hold or transfer excess energy. Then extend the idea to highways and city streets.

If the panels could capture enough solar power to just light and heat themselves, that could potentially be a significant cost savings in street and highway lighting and snow removal but what if enough excess power could be captured for other purposes?

How about powering electric cars through charging stations? Wirelessly transferring electric power to properly equipped vehicles traveling on the roadway? And what if sunlight hitting the roads generated enough power to feed the electrical grid?  Wonder where to put all the solar farms needed to power a nation?  Could creating solar-power-generating roadways be the answer?

So is this all wild conjecture? Maybe not. Solar Roadways cites its own evaluation: “Using very conservative numbers, calculations indicate that if all driving and walking surfaces in the U.S. were converted to Solar Roadway panels, they could produce over three times the electricity used in the United States. In fact, just the ‘lower 48’ could almost produce enough electricity to supply the entire world. To see those calculations in more detail, click here.”

The state of Missouri could be on to a good thing. The solar-powered walkways at the Route 66 center are scheduled for installation by the end of the year. If you’re heading out for kicks on Route 66 or beyond, perhaps in the near future you can stop and walk a glowing, heated, and always-dry path showcasing technology that could power the country.

If you've stopped by the government channel lately, it seems congress is conversing pretty continuously on funding Solar types of projects to better our future.  Who knows?  If they perform as expected, we could see a lot more Solar Freakin' Roadways coming down the streets!

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