Solar Roads 22 replies

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Danny Über Admin

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#1 8 years ago

At first I thought this sounded a little bit crazy, but after watching this video, I can't help but think that actually, this is a pretty amazing idea.

Sure, it's a lot more expensive than a traditional road surface and probably more expensive to maintain but, ultimately, the energy solution it also brings combined with a road surface that is "dynamic" to me seems to be worth the investment when it comes to solving the world's energy problems.

It would be nice if this technology could be refined and adapted for real use.


Danny King | Community Manager | GameFront.com



Nemmerle Forum Mod

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#2 8 years ago

Sounds like they're trying to make it do too much. The more you stick into it the more that can go wrong. And then sticking LEDs in, motion sensors for animals, dredging up trash from the ocean.... All extra expense. And what happens when you poke a hole in this stuff? How does it handle being worn away away over time? What happens when I want to dig a piece up to run my phonelines under it?

Not to mention the energy industry would probably crucify/buy you out and bury it.




MrFancypants Forum Admin

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#3 8 years ago

[COLOR="Black"]Good idea, but as they said themselves, making glass roads that are safe to drive on is probably a big challenge. [/COLOR]




Admiral Donutz VIP Member

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#4 8 years ago

As so many other ideas it might never see any real application due to practical issues, it not "catching on" or special interest lobbies. Regardless though, it's an interesting concept. :)




Supa

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#5 8 years ago
MrFancypants;5379450[COLOR=black]Good idea, but as they said themselves, making glass roads that are safe to drive on is probably a big challenge. [/COLOR]

That was the first thing that came to my mind. That, and what happens if there's an accident that damages the panels? It's a cool idea, and would work great if there was a way to make it safe as well as efficient.




Danny Über Admin

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#6 8 years ago

Nemmerle;5379430Sounds like they're trying to make it do too much. The more you stick into it the more that can go wrong. And then sticking LEDs in, motion sensors for animals, dredging up trash from the ocean.... All extra expense. And what happens when you poke a hole in this stuff? How does it handle being worn away away over time? What happens when I want to dig a piece up to run my phonelines under it?

Not to mention the energy industry would probably crucify/buy you out and bury it.

Well, as the video stated, the roads have the ability to carry electricity, telephone communications, cable TV and internet.


Danny King | Community Manager | GameFront.com



>Omen<

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#7 8 years ago

I was just talking about Chile the other day to someone, which supplies over 30% of the world's copper. World leaders talked them into keeping their copper production going when they wanted to shut down because it would have devastated the global economy.

I don't think these guys are being realistic how many various electrical resources a project like this would take. Just like petroleum based products there's a limit to how many electrical based products you can realistically make without causing problems with supply.

My main two thoughts however were managing traction and weather, not only in terms of how weather affects traction on a surface like glass, but things like condensation, freeze, thaw, etc. Those issues themselves would be tough to solve.

This would be a huge undertaking the scope of which can no where near be seen by making a couple small prototype panels. Think about all the problems they have just managing pipelines, oil spills, etc, literally inventing necessary safety items like special caps and valves as they go, which SHOULD have been there all along as contingency plans but the corporations have so much power they literally buy passivity from the government.

These roads wouldn't be much different, and though less of a risk environmentally, would likely be owned and funded by huge energy corporations whom would have a lot of power as to how safe they are to drive, taxes we'd pay, tolls we'd be charged, etc, etc. And if they stripe and sign them electrically, what happens if a grid goes out?

They tried to make this all sound very Earth friendly and efficient with use of recycled goods and such, but it could easily become a thing where only the upper middle class and wealthy can afford to drive.




*The.Doctor

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#8 8 years ago
That was the first thing that came to my mind. That, and what happens if there's an accident that damages the panels?

That's what i was thinking. I also doubt that glass panel roads would be able to stand up to tractor-trailer travel as well as concrete. Its a neat idea but i can't see it ever actually working.




Danny Über Admin

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#9 8 years ago

Well, as the scientist in the video explains, glass is a lot more versatile than you might think, it's strength and flexibility can be adapted to be stronger than the roads we have now.


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MrFancypants Forum Admin

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#10 8 years ago
FileTrekker;5380161Well, as the scientist in the video explains, glass is a lot more versatile than you might think, it's strength and flexibility can be adapted to be stronger than the roads we have now.

[COLOR=Black]Maybe that's true, but if there are several conflicting problems it is often difficult to find a solution that works for all of them. And if there is one it is probably not as cheap as asphalt. Wouldn't it be easier (and cheaper) to cover all roofs in solar panels instead of all roads?

A related topic are solar power plants in Africa. A bunch of European companies is thinking about building solar-thermal plants in the deserts of Africa and transferring the electricity to Europe. They plan to invest about 400 billion Euro to cover between 10 and 20% of Europe's electrical energy consumption. Of course there are a few problems with this idea as well. Energy transfer and storage require a new infrastructure and the eletricity is probably not going to be as cheap as that provided by nuclear or fossil-fueled powerplants. [/COLOR]