Have you heard of the new solar highway project? It’s an amazing concept that I think we should all know about. Currently most of our roadways are being made of asphalt, a petroleum based, fossil fuel derived, form of construction. We all know that our dependence on petroleum is not sustainable environmentally or economically. In fact, the price of asphalt has increased by almost six times since 2007! These solar powered roads not only create energy, but they are built via recycled landfill waste.
In recent years the US Department of Transportation initiated funding on a project for solar powered roads allowing progressive environmental engineers to assemble a prototype. The road absorbs heat from the sun and stores it as electrical energy that is then transferred to the grid. Our roads could provide us with enough sustainable energy to power our neighborhoods. These solar highways also incorporate LED technology to improve public safety: flashing illuminated crosswalks, live-time notification of road delays or unsafe conditions, even warnings of animals or pedestrian traffic.
If they can work through the challenges, this truly is the future. Such challenges include: the need for the glass to be transparent, yet non-glaring, to be strong and shatterproof, to provide adequate traction, to be fireproof, and to have affordable production costs. Ultimately I think the biggest challenge will be to gain the support required to make these roads a reality. We do have a voice; learn more about sustainable projects in your area and offer your support.
Check out the video: Solar Roadways: The Prototype