Scientists Developing Methods to Capture Solar Energy from Asphalt Roads
Scientists at the University of Rhode Island (URI) are developing ways to convert the solar heat generated by asphalt roadways into usable energy.
The researchers say asphalt can reach temperatures of 140 degrees or more in the summer. The URI team has designed four different methods to use this abundant resource.
1. Wrap photovoltaic cells around the barriers separating highways - The team says this can easily be done by employing thin-film solar cells. The energy generated from the solar panels could power streetlights and illuminate signs.
2. Place water filled pipes beneath the asphalt - The researchers say the hot asphalt will naturally heat the water, which could then be used in a varieity of ways including, powering a turbine, deicing roadways, or providing a source of heat for nearby buildings.
3. Producing electricity by linking hot and cold spots in an electric circuit - The researchers explain this is a futuristic idea, as the technology for it does not exist. But, they believe with enough research it can become practical.
4. Solar roadways - The most complex idea URI is exploring involves replacing asphalt all together. Roadways would then be made up electronic blocks containing solar panels.
Read the full story at ScienceDaily: Researchers aim to harvest solar energy from pavement to melt ice, power streetlights
Image credit: Luis Argerich via Flickr
Energy Boom content is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be advice regarding the investment merits of, or a recommendation regarding the purchase or sale of, any security identified on, or linked through, this site.