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Roads of the future? Interesting concept..

Discussion in 'OFF TOPIC' started by bluecoconuts, May 26, 2014.

  1. bluecoconuts

    bluecoconuts Well-Known Member

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    A few weeks ago I was talking to a friend when he mentioned solar roads could be the way of the future. After doing some reading it's a pretty interesting concept. Essentially they have developed solar panels that collect electricity that can later be used to power other things (building, lights, cars, etc)... Some of the cooler things about the project (which the Federal Highway Administration has given a series of contracts to) is that they're easier to replace than repaving an entire road, don't get potholes or things like that, and have LED's that can change configuration (parking lot, roads, highways, lanes, or even basketball courts or things like that) which means you don't have to worry about repainting either. They can also sense weight on them to warn of animals crossing, send out warnings, light up making roads/lanes easier to see, and of course they can handle the weight of different vehicles, and is actually stronger than asphalt. They also hold up heat, meaning that snow would automatically melt, so you wouldn't need to salt the roads, or worry about plows.


    Of course the idea isn't perfect, it's still nowhere near cost efficient enough to be put into place now, and in the northern latitudes the way the sun hits the road would make them less efficient than in the southern states. Research seems to say that if they were to replace every road with the solar roads, they would produce 3 times more power than the US currently uses, so you'd have to think people are going to see if it's possible to reduce the cost to make it feasible (currently it would cost about 20 times the annual US budget to replace all roads with the stuff), but if they were able to do it (or even roll it out slowly) you'd have to imagine it would be a pretty cool thing. Safer roads and lower electricity bills certainly sounds good on paper.

    Here's an article that I found quickly on it that goes into some more details.
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs...get-roofs-are-solar-roads-the-next-big-thing/
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