photo via YERT
Last year, in September, I wrote an article about Solar Roadways and their $100,000 grant, by the Department of Transportation, to build a solar powered road prototype. They did exactly what they set out to do and they built a prototype. Now they are finalist for an award.
The prototype was completed in February of this year. Pictures, taken by YERT (Your Environmental Road Trip), of their prototype demonstration are posted on their website. If you visit the website you will notice that they test their pedestrian warning system with two little kids. When the kids step on the crosswalk panel the Solar Road Panel lights up with a warning SLOW DOWN for drivers. To see it all in action a video of the demonstration should be posted by the end of this month. The 2010 EE Times ACE Awards has selected Solar Roadways as one of five finalists for the "Most Promising Renewable Energy Award."
In addition to this pedestrian friendly safety feature, the Solar Road Panels also contains a heating element to prevent the accumulation of snow or ice on the roads. For the painted road lines the panels have LEDs and for control and communication the panels contain a microprocessor board. So, if these roads are successful, if (when they are finally) put to use, the roads could save energy, reduce our dependency on foreign oil, protect pedestrians and wildlife on the road, keep trash out of the ocean and landfills (recycled material used to make roads) and more.
Now what? Solar Roadways is also considering using theese solar powered panels to make driveways, parking lots, walkways, playgrounds and even bike paths. But, before Solar Roadways can do any of this they must develop and sell their product. This is phase 2.
Interested in their idea? For more information about Solar Roadways and their Solar Road Panel prototype visit the Solar Roadways website here.
Via Scott Bruwsaw and Solar Roadways