Solar Roadways, the Intelligent Power Generating Superhighway Approaches…

The roadway of the future will paved in toughened textured glass with embedded solar panels, and it will be networked and intelligent. A decade ago this may have been a far off declaration but now thanks to Scott and Julie Brusaw the Solar Roaadway and pavement is becoming a reality.

Having recently demonstrated their incredible intelligent Solar Roadway technology to the world the couple are now seeking support through the IndieGoGo crowd support website.

Presented for your viewing pleasure is the magic superhighway that’s just around the corner. Sit back, relax and get ready for the ride of a lifetime.

Highpants-solar-roadway-demo3The biggest change to our infrastructure since the great highway projects were carried out around the world in the 1950’s. The change to a road that not only pays for itself but also powers the world around it. With support of the Federal Highway Administration in the US the Brushaw’s are working on making this change a reality.

The modular panels at the heart of the Solar Roadway are hexagonal modules a few feet across that can support 250,000 pounds of weight. Each of the tough modular panels contain solar panels, 128 LED’s, a heating element, pressure sensors and a microprocessor with wireless networking.

Highpants-solar-roadway-dance-floorCovered in specially developed tempered glass the modules are impervious to the elements. The 128 LED’s in each module allows the roadway to be a changeable display removing the need to paint street lines and graphics which can be changed at the press of a button, and yes they appear to make an amazing dance floor display.

The embedded pressure sensors and computer intelligence allow the road to inform the driver to slow down when an animal walks onto the road. Snow and ice is melted automatically when the microprocessor detects the presence of the cold chaos. Visibility in these conditions is also greatly improved by the LED’s in the roadway itself.

Integrated along both sides of the roadway are cable corridors, one side allows power and communications to shift underground and the other side carries storm water away. The cable side of the corridor carries the power from the roadway to the people that need it but it can also be rented as corridors for other cable infrastructure for communications and TV.

By far the greatest advantage of the solar highway is its power generation abilities. According to the numbers presented on the site changing all of the roadways in the US with solar roadways would generate three times the current demand of the entire country.

Highpants-solar-roadway-demo2The biggest issue for the adoption of the solar roadway is upfront cost, estimates put the cost at repaving the US with Solar Roadways at around $56 trillion USD. The long term cost of a solar roadway could be offset by its ability to make money every time the sun shines and high beams are on. In tests it turns out that at night cars with their high beams on also generate electricity. But the initial costs of building the first solar roadways will be expensive, however it is the sort of big hit that could revitalize economies just as the highway projects of the 50’s achieved so well.

The team are even working with induction power companies to insert an induction charging layer that could recharge moving electric vehicles. By greatly reducing fossil fueled power generation and vehicle emissions the Solar Roadways have the potential to reduce a countries emissions by up to 75%.

Currently the internet is torn when it comes to Solar Highways. While the tech realists say it is impractical and far too expensive the idea has garnered immense amounts of support from the general public. Raising $1.38 million USD is testament to that. Here at Highpants we think its an excellent idea that still has many hurdles. Switching to a polymer surface and printing the whole module  might give them a chance. The Huffington Post did a nice middle ground article on the subject, here.

Solar roadways and pavements may just change the modern world we live in. Are we on the verge of shifting to the megatroplis dreams of Blade Runner? Is the fully digital user pays highway just around the corner?

Reference: SolarRoadways
Reference: indieGoGo Solar Roadways