In Holland, a bicycle path was created, which consists of solar modules and a protective layer of tempered glass. The designers of this structure expect to receive electricity in this way and want to awaken public interest in using roads as a means of transportation. This road, in the future, will be able to charge electric cars.
It may seem incredible, but the 70 meters long “Solar Road” works and produces more electricity than initially planned.
Electric Cars: Rechargeable Riding
Since commissioning last November, the high-tech cycle path has generated over 3,000 kWh of electricity. This amount is enough to provide electricity for a tiny private house where one person lives during the year. This is a promising prospect for the development of renewable energy production shortly. Indeed, in the future, this could be a completely new source of energy for electric vehicles, where the roads themselves will set them in motion like modern electric bullet trains. Naturally, such an idea will require many years of study and careful research, but this is a marvelous idea in theory.
Currently, the technology is still not up to par. First, engineers need to figure out how such a system can be modified and find out its development patterns. Using Sunny Roads makes sense, especially in areas where sunny days are predominant throughout the calendar year. But to bring this idea to life, scientists must overcome quite serious obstacles.
It’s one thing to use a solar-lined bike path. A completely different problem is giving the coating the necessary strength to allow the track to withstand enormous loads. There is also the problem of delamination due to temperature extremes, the cost of re-coating, and the inability to connect to the general system of roads located in remote areas. But the biggest problem is the cost. The short cycle path cost about $ 3.7 million. Now imagine how much it would cost taxpayers one lane on a highway.
Solar panels on the road: a new reality
There are still many unknown factors weighing in on the scales. For example, the impact of a working solar module on the environment. Those interested in this issue may think that they are reducing carbon emissions by using solar energy. But who and when was interested in what influence the solar panels themselves have on nature? If most of us took a closer look at them, we would realize that the production of batteries requires harsh chemicals such as sodium hydroxide and hydrofluoric acid. In addition, the process involves water and electricity, which produce large quantities of greenhouse gases. Not long ago, a study by National Geographic uncovered some disturbing facts about the dark, flip side of this light business. It led scientists to conclude: “The industry is becoming more – not less – opaque when it comes to the safety of its production methods.” Fortunately, the once-built solar cell is primarily passive and harmless.
Disadvantages aside, we cannot ignore that the three-year experiment works much more efficiently than expected. Since opening last November, more than 150,000 cyclists have ridden the Solar Road and, according to the developers, many cyclists “barely noticed that this is a special road.” Sten do Wit, a spokesman for the Solar Road project, said that the energy gained from the road in the past six months would have been enough for a regular electric scooter to travel 2.5 times around the globe. He also added that the development team “did not expect to receive such a large amount of electricity so quickly.”
The device “Roads of the sun.”
The walkway is laid on a concrete base, and on one of its strips, the solar panels are located below the level of tempered glass, which is only 1 centimeter thick. The glass, in turn, is covered with a transparent, anti-slip layer, which in some areas becomes unusable due to weather conditions and requires reapplication. In addition, the opposite lane was deliberately made on the dark side of the track so that it could be used to test different types of pavements and slightly reduce costs. The track has also been fitted with sensors that could someday transmit traffic speed and the number of vehicles on the highway to drivers and navigation systems.
The future of technology
The overwhelming success of this project brought with it a lot of feedback from the international community, and immediately after the recent publication of the Solar Road, discussions began in all Dutch provinces about further pilot projects. If the program is carried out without problems in the coming months, the region of North Holland will renew the cooperation agreement signed earlier with the state of California.
In the future, the company plans to expand its project and provide electricity to tiny private houses and, ultimately, electric cars that will drive on its expensive coating. The UAE has been rumored to be testing this – who wouldn’t believe it? There are no shortages of cars or tyres in the UAE.
Solar Road project executives say the next phase in using solar power from the road will be automatic street lighting, traffic lights and road sign lighting.