I hopped on indiegogo this morning to track down a fitness device and happened upon a tech startup called Solar Roadways.
These guys out of Idaho literally want to "pave" the road with hexagonal segments of glass that drink in the sun's energy.
Glass? On the road? What about snow/ice, wind/cold, or weight from huge trucks?
What about lane paint?
Apparently, they have that all figured out. Here are some highlights about the modular system of glass tiles:
- Designed for "roads, parking lots, driveways, sidewalks, bike paths, playgrounds... literally any surface under the sun"
- Built in heating elements keep it snow/ice free
- Captures and sends water wherever you want via cable 'corridors.'
- Hexagonal honeycomb of tiles withstands trucks up to 250,000 lbs
- Built in LEDs replace the need for road paint
Aside from the solar energy the road takes in daily, the roadway can be configured to work in conjunction with specialized electronic vehicles ("EVs") to charge them via induction as they drive-- which would be a great supplement to Tesla's growing network of charging stations. The same principles make these tiles good for parking lots that charge up EV or plugin hybrids vehicles. Imagine a municipality with a small fleet of vehicles out on the road all day charging up at night with a continually diminishing cost to the taxpayer? Again-- crazy. So crazy it just might work. That just covers the basics. For more check out their FAQs.
What about the cost? I haven't doe any independent research but according to their numbers, a nationwide system of these tiles could produce enough energy to pay for the system over time.
They're on Indiegogo but Solar Roadways is not new to the tech scene. They've won prizes and garnered support from competitions and companies the likes of GE, Google and others.
Didn't the President say something about Green Jobs a few years ago? Aren't all the experts complaining about "our crumbling infrastructure?" And can you imagine how great it'd be for maintaining Internet connectivity across the country? When I come across an invention like this I wish there were some channel that normal people could use to raise the awareness of these innovations to our elected leadership-- like a Quirky system for each state's legislative agenda. But that's another topic entirely.
Back to Solar Roadways. The perks you can get for supporting them go from tote bags to owning a tile. That disappointed me a little. I'd hoped for a driveway installation or maybe a name mention on some segment of road they're testing.