Monday, August 30, 2010

Paving Paths of Power?

The following is a link to a video outlining a study to create paved road surfaces which will generate electricity:

I like the idea of the LEDs or photocells laminated between sheets of special glass.  I'm interested in the modules shown, the way they connect to each other physically and electrically, and how damaged ones would be replaced.

The road profile would be of special importance, especially in snowplow country.  A segmented roadbed made of flat modules would present edges for plow blades to snag.  

The video didn't describe the glass formulation itself. Maybe glass design would be "by others", like Corning or Pilkington.  [Pilkington is a British company that invented the float glass process.  They absorbed the Toledo, Ohio, Libbey-Owens-Ford Glass Co., where my dad was a mechanical engineer for 37 years.]

I doubt that the pelletized landfill material described would provide a good road base.  I noticed that "compost" was noted in the cross section drawing.  A road base that would decomposes, shrink and settle, is undesirable.

Driveways might be a better place to start. Less physical wear and tear than roads. But parking = shading and shading is counterproductive, and people prefer driveway instead of street parking.

GROUND-mounted solar cell systems already exist, making them more economical than a PAVEMENT-based system, and they avoid shade from cars  The following story describes such a photoelectric installation [which happened to be manufactured outside Perrysburg, Ohio, my childhood home]:

ROOF-mounted systems would avoid shade from cars, garage sales, the house itself, and face fewer shadowing problems from trees.  Even better would be a roof-mounted electricity-generating system that doubled as  weather-shedding roof surface. Solar roof shingles are available today:
A solar ROOF technology that cleverly integrates electricity production with weather-shedding capability EXISTS.  

The solar PAVING technology proposed is FAR from existence.  Only when it proves to be a commercial success will residential viability follow.

But it's GREAT fun to think about.

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