With the continuing technological innovations in the automobile industry such as the popularity of hybrid and electric cars rising at a considerable rate, these alternative energy methods are now making their way to other areas of the road industry, more specifically the roads themselves. However, with more and more companies seeing the benefits of adopting eco-friendly techniques and ideas, the future of roads and the environmental impact of road travel could be a lot brighter.
Solar Roadways, a small, US-based technology company have created a solar road surface that has incredible potential. If the surface was to be installed across the country, then Solar Roadways estimate that it would harness more renewable energy than is used by the entirety of the US. In order to further their creation, they have created a working prototype that is in place in a carpark, and have now turned their attention to crowdfunding to raise more funds to continue development.
The surface itself has been in development since 2006, and works as a layer of tessellating hexagonal panels, made of glass and studded with LED emitters that serve as road lines and markings, ensuring that the surface maintains maximum visibility. In addition to providing light, the heat generated by the panels could also help melt ice and snow on the roads, increasing traction and safety for all vehicles and road users.
With over 31,000 square miles of usable road surface covering the US, the amount of solar power generated if Solar Roadways’ technology was introduced would be enormous. So not only will the new surface improve safety for road users, it will also provide a huge reduction in carbon dioxide emissions.
Solar Roadways are hoping to raise $1 million through their Indiegogo crowdfunding project – this will cover the costs of hiring engineers who will facilitate the progression from prototype to the final product. While this crowdfunding will help with the initial development, there would need to be an incredible increase in funding if they were to attempt to cover the entirety of the US’ road surfaces.
Here at UK Surfacings, we are proud to offer fantastic surfacing solutions for our customers, whether that be for a driveway, a car park or road resurfacing. If you would like to know more information, get in touch with us today and we’ll be more than happy to help you.