• Image Credit: Solar Roadways
  • Image Credit: Solar Roadways
  • Image Credit: Solar Roadways
  • Image Credit: Solar Roadways
  • Image Credit: Solar Roadways
  • Image Credit: Solar Roadways
  • Image Credit: Solar Roadways
  • Image Credit: Solar Roadways
  • Image Credit: Solar Roadways
  • Image Credit: Solar Roadways
  • Image Credit: Solar Roadways
Joni Mitchell was wrong when she sang out against paving paradise and putting up a parking lot. Ok, maybe not. Still, we think the demonstration project just built by the folks over at Solar Roadways would get a pass from the Canadian singer-songwriter. That's because the real estate in question is covered with a textured glass surface that can, among many other things, generate low-carbon electricity, melt snow, and throw up safety warnings with its integrated LED lighting system.

This smart road has grown from its original conception to award-winning early prototype to actual installation in a few short years and is now ready for its next step: manufacturing. To do that, the family-based startup needs money for staff and other costs. While it has received funding from the Department of Transportation for its efforts so far, it's now turning to the world at large with an IndieGoGo campaign for help moving this ambitious vision forward.

If successful, the concept will next start appearing in parking lots, driveways and sidewalks before taking that final leap toward paving the way to a solar-powered paradise. Sound too idealistic, too utopian? Well, maybe. But, big change doesn't happen by thinking small. While we consider a lyric from another musician – "You may say I'm a dreamer, But I'm not the only one" - scroll down for a fresh video from Solar Roadways discussing the possibilities of this awesome idea, and showing off what they have achieved so far.



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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 100 Comments
      Joeviocoe
      • 2 Months Ago
      --"they have addressed some of those same issues you raise. Costs for asphalt will continue to rise as we are beyond Peak Oil " They have skirted around more issues than they addressed. Of course asphalt gets more expensive over time.. But so does high tempered glass manufacturing. If asphalt costs increase at a larger rate than this form of glass tempering... they may indeed converge. But they never say how much money for the current costs of materials and installation of the current 'tile'. So we don't know what kind of cost lead asphalt currently has over this. If a mile of this 'smart road' costs 100 times the cost of asphalt... as I suspect it does... then they may not converge within the next 100 years. --" is self-cleaning so much of the grime will addressed that way. " This was never demonstrated. And I seriously doubt that self-cleaning is more than just a minor effect. --"Street sweepers may replace snow plows then if the grime becomes a problem." Again... sounds nice when you don't think about quantifiable numbers. How much of US roadways need snow plows each year? Most areas never need snow plows. So you go from a manageable number of seasonal vehicles, to a growing burden of constant maintenance across the entire span of the US. Snow plows only reasonably need to plow the strip where cars actually drive, while this 'smart road' would need cleaning on every part of the surface, even the parts that car tires never touch. Also, snow plows are not needed unless the snow fall exceeds an amount that accumulates. Many roads get light snow that cars will turn into a thin slush that is manageable without plows. But would render smart roads useless. --"this is more a complete solution to our society troubles than just putting a panel on your house or business." So you feel it is okay to massively scale up road infrastructure, but write, "putting a panel on your house" in the SINGULAR form, as if people cannot fit enough solar panels on their homes or even apartment rooftops to satisfy their consumption? --"This addresses water reclamation as well as distributed energy." Yes, it does. But way before Solar PV cells, LEDs, load cells, etc.... civil engineers have tried and thought about water reclamation from roadway runoff, and buried power lines to avoid weather related power outages. And in every sensible study, it was clear that the maintenance and costs far outweighed the potential benefits. Overhead power lines my go down frequently in storms, but can be repaired much faster above ground. And they can be installed MUCH MUCH faster, cheaper, and easier. Rain water reclamation is indeed a great idea. But collecting from road ways which have lots of chemicals from ICEs, puts a lot of extra burden on filtering and processing. Once again, better ways to implement. --"And maintenance requires a team going out to a failed panel and replacing it." So could solar canopies. And that only needs a bucket crane sitting
      • 10 Months Ago
      And as promised, here is the updated Numbers page: http://solarroadways.com/numbers.shtml Here is a sample from that page: Engineers love numbers. They (the numbers, that is) generally bore people to death, but at times they are necessary for understanding. One of the biggest questions that has been asked is simply, "Can we really generate enough pollution-free electricity to power our businesses and homes?" The calculations below are presented to answer this very important question. First, the "givens": In the 48 contiguous states alone, pavements and other impervious surfaces cover 112,610 square kilometers-an area nearly the size of Ohio-according to research published in the 15 June 2004 issue of Eos, the newsletter of the American Geophysical Union. Continuing development adds another quarter of a million acres each year. Let's do some conversions: 112,610 square kilometers equals 43443.54 square miles. The report was done ten years ago, so that means an additional 2.5 million acres have been turned into impervious surfaces. That's an additional 3906.25 square miles, so all told, we have 47349.79 square miles of impervious surfaces. Let's make a conservative assumption that a full 1/3 of that number accounts for rooftops of homes and businesses, which we're not currently interested in. That leaves us with 31,250.86 square miles of roads, parking lots, driveways, playgrounds, bike paths, sidewalks, etc., to work with.
        Joeviocoe
        • 2 Months Ago
        And as I predicted,... the new numbers page did NOT address the economics of construction or lifetime costs compared to concrete road paving. ----------------------------------- But let's look at each item claimed (they claimed the everything 'under the sun', surprised they didn't claim curing cancer): Hard surface? Concrete roads do this naturally, check. Remain snow/ice free? Only needed for some roads, and plows are still much cheaper that repaving those roads. Renewable energy? Solar panels in any other place, does this better. Embedded LEDs? Childhood fantasy that not everybody shares. Overhead lighting works just as well for a fraction of the cost. Impervious to Potholes? BS ALERT! The concrete foundation will eventually need repair too. Instead of traditional potholes... you get tiles separating, or shifting up. Kinda like how railroad crossings get to be a nightmare when the steel tracks sink or rise relative to the road surface. BANG. Modular repair? Unless trying to repair the concrete underneath... then it is harder to detect damage and longer to repair. Treat stormwater? Nothing to do with solar panels or tiles in the roadway. Just an add on ("hey, we are ripping up the road, might as well install a drainage canal"). Can be done just as easily with paving a new concrete roadway. Haven for Power and Data cables? They have been suggesting to bury power and phone lines for decades... the costs are never even close to reasonable. The maintenance of overhead lines is so much easier, it justifies the occasional outage from storms. Autonomous vehicles? Can be done just as easy with embedded RFID tags in those reflectors that are pasted on the road markings. Cell phone "dead spots"? This is my area of engineering expertise, being signal. I could write pages of why this is not a good idea. Warning drivers? This is what we ALREADY do with those solar powered programmable signs on the sides of roads. We already have an inexpensive solution. Modernize traffic monitoring? That is already being done with a combination of embedded, off-road, and elevated sensors. Cut GHG? Solar panels in any other place, does this better. Reduce fossil fuels? Solar panels in any other place, does this better. Lower accident rates? With cheaper implementation of those same features... where each is needed (rather than a "one size fits all")... scaling up can be quicker and more effective. Not smart to wait around for a massive project to be done, just install more street lights, side of road warning signs, and road heaters where it gets icy. Protects wildlife? Proper fence placement does this in some areas very well. But infrared cameras are cheaper because they can cover a larger area. And they are just as easy to program to recognize animals only. Lower insurance rates? Derivative. National Security? Also derivative. But either way, Solar panels in any other place, does this better.
        Joeviocoe
        • 2 Months Ago
        31,250 sq-mi ?? Yes, that is in line with my estimate that I made weeks ago. 25,500 for just roadways (not including parking lots, driveways, playgrounds, bike paths, sidewalks, etc)
        • 2 Months Ago
        Joe, The point of solar roadways is that it's all of those benefits in one idea. In their video they even say that all the technology already existed, they just putting it all together. Anyways, it sounds like no amount of arguing is going to change your mind, I think we should leave you to speculate and rant on these forums.
          • 2 Months Ago
          Unfortunately your basing the fact that it will be more cost effective and "pragmatic" on speculation. Your assuming it'll be more cost effective, before solar roadways has even put out any numbers regarding costs. Also people prefer an all in one deal, less hassle dealing with all the maintenance of each system.
          Joeviocoe
          • 2 Months Ago
          I understand that the idea is to be ONE PACKAGE DEAL... so that they can say to DHA that a "road can pay for itself". But a more pragmatic and cost effective approach of using the right tech, in the right location... can pay for roads much quicker (albeit, indirectly). It boils down to what kinds of infrastructure approaches work in the real world. The "blanket approach" such as Solar can provide 100% of our energy... or the "comprehensive approach" such as Solar in the SW, Wind in the plains states, Nuclear where unpopulated and earthquake free, Hydro and geothermal based on geography, etc.. Ideology is fine to a certain point. But we have to be realist when looking at the bigger picture. No massive infrastructure projects like this will succeed in this country. The most "effective" approach should be taken to do all we can... and we should NOT let ourselves be distracted (or waste money) with approaches that focus on elegant "all-in-one" packages.
          Joeviocoe
          • 2 Months Ago
          Seems like less hassle on the outside. As you drive past, you can say, "they are fixing the solar tiles"... but from the maintenance perspective... it is MORE hassle if every problem requires stopping traffic. --"Your assuming it'll be more cost effective, before solar roadways has even put out any numbers regarding costs." It is a reasonable assumption based on what we DO know. They WILL have to lay a foundation of concrete to keep tiles as steady as possible for the longest time. So the cost of a SR is AT LEAST as expensive as paving a normal road with concrete. And we know that the solar cells cannot be as effective as a raised angled platform, because of "physics". So the payback time is LONGER than the equivalent solar power capacity smartly placed elsewhere. They have already made excuses as to why they refuse to put the relevant numbers. They said it is not an "apples to apples" comparison, so they won't calculate it. They fail to properly understand the decision process that would allow them to install the SR on a large scale. If a city planner or policy maker wants to build something that will "pay for itself" using clean renewable energy... then this DOES become an "apples to apples" comparison for them. Because it is NOT FRUIT... IT'S MONEY! Dollars, and Kwhs is what they will based their decision on. The "all in one deal" is appealing ONLY if it truly saves money compared to a competing idea... which it won't. ----------------------------------- The reason why DHA wants roadways to be self-powered... is because they only have jurisdiction over the roads... they can't get credit for a solar array that is placed elsewhere, even if it more efficient. The Highway system is a "consumer of power".. and they want to be "producers" or at least neutral. Noble of course, but misguided, as they would be terrible "producers" of solar energy. Much better to let the parks department, bureau of land management, etc... use their "UNutilized tracks of land"... rather than try and squeeze everything into a road surface. ------------------------------------- This will fail. You know, I know, and even they know it. But they probably can't sleep at night unless they try. So kudos to them.. but I am not buying it, and neither should public money. And WHEN it fails, we should understand EXACTLY WHY... so we are not doomed to constantly repeat this kind of folly. We should know exactly which pitfalls await grandiose ideas.
      Joeviocoe
      • 2 Months Ago
      The argument is "Against" their assumptions. The credibility of the project must be evaluated on the validity of the claimant's arguments. The critique need only poke holes in their assumptions. Which I have.
      • 10 Months Ago
      I'm in doubt about the economics of the idea, like many other commenters on this site. It might work for driveways, or short private roads. For public highways, I prefer this idea from 2007, the Sustainable Highway, in the middle of the page: http://movares.nl/en/innovations/
      • 10 Months Ago
      Most if not all of the questions asked here are the same ones that are answered at the Solar Roadways FAQ (which the Indiegogo page links to). Here it is: http://solarroadways.com/faq.shtml Here's the link to the "Why not a canopy?" question: http://solarroadways.com/faq.shtml#faqCanopy Here's the link to the "Wouldn't all those cars block out the sunlight?" question: http://solarroadways.com/faq.shtml#faqTraffic
        Joeviocoe
        • 2 Months Ago
        No, they did NOT answer the canopy question seriously. They addressed it with ridiculous claims: Such as canopies being expensive, because the asphalt roadway would still need maintenance... (ignoring the fact that the same money could be used to pave the road beneath with concrete... which is what the solar road would need anyway). ... and people will die when melting snow drips from canopies and refreezes as black ice. As if engineers couldn't figure out how to drain off to the side of the road. And NO, they have not address the true economics of this system when compared to paving with concrete.
      korblalak
      • 10 Months Ago
      It is been said that an area the size of Montana comprised of current photovoltaic cells could generate all the electricity needed to power the US for a whole year. I'm sure we have more road square miles than that.
        BipDBo
        • 2 Months Ago
        @korblalak
        With a 100% solar PV system, you would also need massive amounts of energy storage capability to provide power at night and when weather limits power output. Not cheap and not simple. Solar PV energy is most economical when it is used locally, like on top of a house or commercial building, and it partially offsets grid energy. Even then, it is extremely expensive.
          Joeviocoe
          • 2 Months Ago
          @BipDBo
          --"extremely expensive" Not anymore. Still requires some subsidy, but as of this year, each case must be looked at completely, because it is getting very close to cost competitive. --"With a 100% solar PV system, you would also need massive amounts of energy storage capability to provide power at night and when weather limits power output. " Yep, which is why renewables such as Wind and Solar are never sized for 100%. They are oversized. But there is a lot of interest in battery storage and molten salt storage of solar thermal plants. https://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/Research-5-Companies-Postioned-to-Succeed-in-Grid-Scale-Energy-Storage https://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/Slideshow-Update-on-Ambris-Liquid-Metal-Grid-Scale-Battery
          BipDBo
          • 2 Months Ago
          @BipDBo
          "Yep, which is why renewables such as Wind and Solar are never sized for 100%. They are oversized." What are you talking about. No. They're not oversized. They are always designed to supplement, and put in as much power to the building or grid (which even with a single building is a small portion) as they can generate. A 10kw solar system does not generate 240kw*hr of energy per day, and tha's not because it's oversized, because it's not. It only generates 10KW*hr ander peak, ideal conditions, but you have varying degrees of sun angle in the sky, night time, cloudy weather etc. In Florida, which is a pretty decent place for solar, the best you can expect is 4.5 equivalent hours per day. And yes, it still is extremely expensive, far from being competitive with grid energy (at least in the US), especially now that we have fracking and a growing network of NG plants. In Europe, where grid energy is much more expensive, it may be closer to being competitive.
        • 2 Months Ago
        @korblalak
        Exactly. That's one reason why I like the idea so much -- it would (per the calculations on the old Numbers page, currently being updated to take into account the new hexagonal shape of what were originally going to be rectangular panels) provide two to three times as much power as the US currently uses, and doesn't require ripping up a single square foot of land that isn't already paved or otherwise developed.
          Joeviocoe
          • 2 Months Ago
          --"and doesn't require ripping up a single square foot of land that isn't already paved or otherwise developed" Um... that is NOT a good thing. Land that is already road... is even MORE expensive to RE-develop. It is far cheaper to put a solar array in a desert or on land that nobody wants to use. The US is not "running out of land" that we need to start repurposing our roadways. There is so much potential for solar power.. but it exists regionally... and should not be foolishly forced into a niche of our road system, just to fulfill a fantasy of driving on LED illuminated lanes like a video game.
          Joeviocoe
          • 2 Months Ago
          BrUMqA ~ foolishly forced ~~> forced foolishly ~ expensive to RE-develop ~~> expensive to tear up and RE-develop Autoblog Comments Enhancer - #ACE-EDIT - bit.ly/Autoblog_Comments
          Joeviocoe
          • 2 Months Ago
          ACE-EDIT: BrUMqA foolishly forced ~~> forced foolishly Autoblog Comments Enhancer (ACE) https://openuserjs.org/scripts/joeviocoe/Autoblog_Comments
        Joeviocoe
        • 2 Months Ago
        @korblalak
        That is way off. It is more like an area 1/10th the size of Arizona can power the whole US indefinitely. And 1/3 the size of Arizona could power the whole world, even at much higher consumption levels of the year 2030. And that is with current PV efficiencies at a modest 20%. The record breaking high efficiency PV cells are at 44.7% efficiency. http://landartgenerator.org/blagi/wp-content/uploads/2009/08/AreaRequired1000.jpg
        Joeviocoe
        • 2 Months Ago
        @korblalak
        Korblalak... no way. 3 million miles of roadway exist in the US. That is all public paved roads. Interstates and local roads. The average paved width of a 4 lane road is probably 45 ft (0.00852273 miles) So about 25,500 square-miles of roadway in the whole US (max, since the majority of roads are NOT 45ft wide 4 lane roads). Montana has 147,040 square-miles
          korblalak
          • 2 Months Ago
          @Joeviocoe
          Thanks for providing stats. I didn't do my homework as to the amount of pavement out there.
          Joeviocoe
          • 2 Months Ago
          @Joeviocoe
          BqPXyw ~ 147,040 square-miles ~~> 147,041 square-miles ACE-EDIT: A feature of Autoblog Comments Enhancer - preview.tinyurl.com/Autoblog-Comments
        floorman56
        • 2 Months Ago
        @korblalak
        So, Ryan... it is actually 10,000 sq-mi And at a "Rule of thumb" cost at about $100 sq ft installed how much would a 10,000 sq mile unit cost?
          Joeviocoe
          • 2 Months Ago
          @floorman56
          floorman, BidDBo... nobody is talking about PV cells for large scale solar. Solar Thermal is cheaper for large arrays.
          Joeviocoe
          • 2 Months Ago
          @floorman56
          ACE-EDIT: Bqfjcw ~ floorman, BidDBo ~~> floorman and BidDBo Autoblog Comments Enhancer (ACE) https://openuserjs.org/scripts/joeviocoe/Autoblog_Comments
          BipDBo
          • 2 Months Ago
          @floorman56
          $27,878,400,000,000 Not including rerouting power distribution, or energy storage.
        Ryan
        • 2 Months Ago
        @korblalak
        I thought it was only 100 square miles....
          Joeviocoe
          • 2 Months Ago
          @Ryan
          At 0.6266 kilowatt-hours per module per day, our square mile will deliver 1,164,574 kWh per day on average, or 425,069,510 kWh per year. Back to our goal of 4,000,000,000,000 kWh, divided by 425,069,510 kWh per year per square mile, it looks like we need about 9,410 square miles of surface to meet the electrical needs of the U.S. That’s a square area a bit less than 100 miles on a side. http://www.terrawatts.com/PV-production.html So, Ryan... it is actually 10,000 sq-mi... but the confusion is that it is 100 miles on each side. (rather than 100 sq-mi, which is only 10 miles on each side).
      j
      • 10 Months Ago
      These comments have all been addressed. Much like putting a battery in a car has been addressed. Just take a look at their web site if you don't think so.
        Joeviocoe
        • 2 Months Ago
        @j
        Just saw the 2010 TEDx talk. Yes, bloggers are the worst. But real questions are posed either way. This project is really nothing like battery cars or the Wright bros. EVs were economically unfeasible until Lithium Ion batteries, and even then, most EV ideas were doomed by bad economics. Only a few ideas made it through. Infrastructure projects are often under-estimated and fail quickly. Take a lesson from Better Place. They too were very convincing on TED Talks, and had a very attractive plan that promised to change the world. But it was bloggers and comments, like those found here, that remained skeptical of an inferior economic business plan... while governments and private investors were easily swayed because of underestimating the costs. -------------------- There might be a few interesting numbers put up on the website... but they won't likely convince anybody unless it can provide a detailed cost analysis on how all those components, and the installation, and the maintenance, and the concrete foundation... will be cheaper than paving with asphalt. I fully expect some real creative license and funny math to make this seem like a winner. And I will reiterate, Every feature provided by this roadway, could be done MUCH CHEAPER using separate systems. RFID pasted ONTO the road, solar/battery LED signs on the side of the road (already implemented for slowing traffic and warnings), and solar panels off to the side of the road.
        Joeviocoe
        • 2 Months Ago
        @j
        The website doesn't have numbers. The website doesn't have a cost benefit analysis. The website doesn't have a materials list. The website has no answers. THIS is what the website has: The Numbers How much electricity can we really produce?Coming soon We're in the process of updating this page with more current information. Please come back soon. Sorry about the inconvenience! And if and when they do provide numbers,... I expect them to be just optimistic estimations rather than real, independently confirmed results. I also expect only electrical numbers... and zero economic construction costs.. which is the real burden of this project.
        Joeviocoe
        • 2 Months Ago
        @j
        The website doesn't have numbers. The website doesn't have a cost benefit analysis. The website doesn't have a materials list. The website has no answers. THIS is what the website has: The Numbers How much electricity can we really produce?Coming soon We're in the process of updating this page with more current information. Please come back soon. Sorry about the inconvenience! And if and when they do provide numbers,... I expect them to be just optimistic estimations rather than real, independently confirmed results. I also expect only electrical numbers... and zero economic construction costs.. which is the real burden of this project.
      • 2 Months Ago
      MiKey - Bluetooth Locator, Phone Battery Backup, Data Storage, Charger cable, USB Connector cable, Micro USB & Lightning Charger, Multi-tool - All in just a Key! Watch indiegogo campaign here : http://igg.me/at/mky/x/6746248
      • 10 Months Ago
      What I like about this idea is that it addresses several concerns. Our current way of paving is not sustainable. Asphalt is comprised of oil - oil supplies are dwindling as I write this so those costs, as prohibitive as they are now, are only going to sky rocket. This solution would take whole communities off the central electrical grid which is growing more and more vulnerable to brown and black outs given the growing strength of our storms. It addresses water management - water accumulated from rain and snow are redirected from these roads to local municipalities for treatment and municipal use. Right now, that water is lost as run off. Maintenance would be less than we have now - we will not have the 'construction seasons' every few years as the asphalt is replaced or filled. Jobs would be generated by going to this system - the manufacturing and distribution network for these in the US and around the world would transform our global economy.
        Joeviocoe
        • 2 Months Ago
        --"Asphalt is comprised of oil - oil supplies are dwindling as I write this so those costs, as prohibitive as they are now, are only going to sky rocket." As expensive as you think asphalt is... this system IS MORE EXPENSIVE per mile. --"This solution would take whole communities off the central electrical grid which is growing more and more vulnerable to brown and black outs given the growing strength of our storms." I don't see how. There is no mention of how much power would be generated from a mile of roadway. --"Maintenance would be less than we have now - we will not have the 'construction seasons' every few years as the asphalt is replaced or filled." How can you be sure of that? Why do you think that roads are not currently paved with hard materials that never need maintenance? Because physics are not that simple. The ground moves and flexes as we drive over it. Especially with big trucks. As the temperature fluctuates throughout the days and years, the road surface expands and contracts. Eventually the material cracks. In many places, ground water seeps up forming pot holes. Civil engineers do very well at keeping roads lasting as long as they do. But I do not see any civil engineers working on this project who verify that this system will be "less maintenance". There is precedence too. http://clatl.com/atlanta/everything-youve-ever-wanted-to-know-about-those-goddamn-metal-plates/Content?oid=2645889 The layman would think that steel plates would permanently solve road maintenance issues. But they don't. And no engineer would think they do. Like these steel plates... hardened glass tiles would still transfer kinetic energy to the surface below... which, judging by the video, is just concrete. What happens when the concrete below the tiles crack? What happens when water seeps up? What happens when the rebar rusts? What happens when temperature causes the tiles to separate several inches, and driving on this road becomes a vibratory nightmare?
        Joeviocoe
        • 2 Months Ago
        Better ways to reduce costs for asphalt... and without using oil. https://radio.azpm.org/p/azspot/2010/5/28/1012-experimental-asphalt/
      • 10 Months Ago
      Sigh. So many of these comments seem to be written by people who either haven't bothered to visit the Solar Roadways FAQ page or have really bad reading-comprehension skills. For the record: Aside from the numbers page, which is currently being updated with new figures (the previous numbers page was done when they were still planning on using rectangular panels; a road engineer convinced them to use hexagonal shapes instead), pretty much every question one can ask has already been answered and the answers posted here: http://solarroadways.com/faq.shtml
        Joeviocoe
        • 2 Months Ago
        I specifically addressed that FAQ page. Even quoted it! All previous comments were posting while that page was NON-EXISTENT. When Brusaw finally did put up the FAQs... I found it laughably naive. They seem to focus only on the road surface durability... granted, it is the first question people ask. But that is FAR from the biggest problem. Cost and utility are the biggest problem. Every feature of utility would be cheaper to implemented in separate features (canopies, external LED signs, pasted RFID, etc.) A fair "cost benefit analysis" would be the "numbers" that should shown... not just numbers on durability. The durability comes from the reinforced concrete foundation... which is already expensive enough, and would require maintenance. I am glad to see a Hex shape, so that helps keep the tiles strong. Problem now becomes noise and tire damage over time, when these tiles inevitably separate a few centimeters. There is a reason why cobblestone roads are not built on most roads. ----------------------------- Bottom line... this is an Indiegogo money grab. They are taking money donations from people, and have "flex funding" so they don't have to refund anything if they don't even make 5% of their goal, which they won't. Basically, they are selling coffee mugs and t-shirts... everything else is bunk.
          Joeviocoe
          • 2 Months Ago
          @Joeviocoe
          829903BrNFyg ~ Hex shape ~~> Hexagon shape ACE-EDIT: A feature of Autoblog Comments Enhancer BrNFyg829903
      Jeff
      • 10 Months Ago
      I really admire their idealism and optimism and dedication to their vision. But that just makes it all the more sad that they seem completely oblivious to the fact that this idea is unviable in SO many different facets. Anyone with even the vaguest understandings of the economics of road construction and/or solar energy generation would realize that.
        mycommentemail
        • 2 Months Ago
        @Jeff
        I am pretty sure this idea will never take off, but that said, I would like to see some numbers from you to support your suggestion that the economics of road construction and/or solar energy make this a clear non-starter.
          Jeff
          • 2 Months Ago
          @mycommentemail
          1. Solar energy generation is barely economically viable right now even with government incentives, and that's for simple, (relatively) cheap solar cells installed at optimum angles with minimal shade. These solar road modules will be far more expensive and produce less energy. If they can't compete financially, no one will buy them. 2. We already barely have enough money to repair our roads as they are today. I don't work for a construction company, so I don't have precise figures, but any idiot can realize that covering vast stretches of roadway with high-tech modules like this will be VASTLY more expensive than regular paving. 3. All of the fancy LEDs are unnecessary. Paint works fine, is MUCH cheaper and doesn't waste energy. So why would you waste all that extra money and efficiency to put solar panels under a road when instead you can put them up almost anywhere else and get more bang (clean energy) for your buck??? *The only thing that I find interesting is the idea of melting snow. But it also seems like a huge waste of energy. But then again, I don't know how that would compare to the cost of plowing and salting.
        Joeviocoe
        • 2 Months Ago
        @Jeff
        I think the burden of numbers are placed on the inventors of this. It can be assumed to be a non-starter just on the fact that they don't provide any numbers regarding the power output of a mile of this 'smart road'. If they did provide the output power, it could easily be shown to be such a small fraction of the output power of solar panels on rooftops or canopies. Road construction still needs to happen. These tiles cannot 'replace' regular road construction... only add to it. There is still a base of concrete and lots of rebar underneath. The tiles themselves may be super durable, but then the energy from constant driving is transfered to the concrete surface below. So now there are maintenance issues that are hidden from view and harder to get access.
      Joeviocoe
      • 3 Months Ago
      http://green.autoblog.com/2014/11/11/small-solar-bike-path-now-open-in-holland/ So if this basic 2 meter wide, 70 meter long bike path costs $3.7 million dollars... 0.043496 miles per meter, or 1/23rd of a mile == $85 million per mile of bike path (only 2 meters wide) Minimum highway lane width is 3.7 meters and with 4 lanes.... That is 14.8 meters wide, roughly 7.4 times wider http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Interstate_Highway_standards == $629 Million Dollars PER MILE of highway. And that is a simple solar pathway suitable for bikes... would need to be stronger for cars and trucks. No LED lighting, pressure sensors, heating elements, networking, etc. Crowd-source investors have already gotten swindled out of $2.2 Million dollars from the Brusaws.
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