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Solar Roads

By Andrew Lamphar

As a kid growing up in the mid-1960s, Scott Brusaw would spend hours setting up miniature speedways on the living room carpet so that he could race his favorite slot cars up and down the electric tracks.
“I thought that if they made real roads electric, then us kids could drive,” recalls Brusaw, who grew to become an electrical engineer. “That thought stuck with me my entire life.”

The couple explored the idea of embedding solar cells to store energy inside the case, LEDs to illuminate the road lines and heating elements to resist ice and snow — soon after, the concept of Solar Roadways was born.

“Our original intent was to help solve the climate crisis,” says Brusaw. “We learned that the U.S. had over 72,000 square kilometers of asphalt and concrete surfaces exposed to the sun. If we could cover them with our solar road panels, then we could produce over three times the amount of energy that we use as a nation — that’s using clean, renewable energy instead of coal.”

The Idaho-based couple received their first government contract to work on the project in 2009 and have been working to perfect it ever since. Initially, they joined forces with researchers to develop a super-strong textured glass that would offer cars the traction they require. Then, they fitted LEDs road markers to avoid destroying the cells by painting highway lines over them and heating to warm the surface and keep the system working.

Now, the pair is hoping to raise enough funds on crowdfunding site Indiegogo to gear up production following the successful test of its latest prototype: a Solar Roadways parking lot laid next to their electronics lab.

In the beginning about half of the people thought we were geniuses and the other half thought we were nuts.

Brusaw says solar road panels could theoretically be laid anywhere — from motorways and parking lots to pavements and playgrounds. He believes that such a prospect could transform the existing motorway infrastructure, prevent accidents and ultimately help save the planet from an environmental disaster.

“In the U.S., roughly half of greenhouse gases are generated by burning fossil fuels to create electricity,” he says. “Another 25% comes out of our tailpipes,” adds Brusaw. “By replacing coal with solar and making electric vehicles practical — which could lead to the end of internal combustion engines — we could theoretically cut greenhouse gas emissions by up to 75%.”

Just think about how the useful this would be if we could have these roads everywhere. It could save the energy crisis in the US; also think how cool it would look to have roads that look like those from Tron.

Some of the facts and information listed here were taken from this video:,d.cGU

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