Skip to main content

My name is Aaron Fernandez.  I am attending classes as an undergraduate Computer Science major at Mount Hood Community College.  I'll be transferring to Portland State University for my BS in Computer Science after graduating from MHCC for my Computer Science AS.

This piece is a term final MLA research paper I wrote on the topic of Solar Roadways; in particular, it covers the project with an emphasis on it's impact on the environment, and why large scale innovative ideas that gain public favor and recognition can often be more feasible than immediately apparent.

    One of the most renowned thinkers of the early 1900’s foresaw a future brightened by the clean energy of our nearest star.  “[…] Sun, wind and tide.  I’d put my money on the sun and solar energy,” posited Edison, “what a source of power!”  he exclaimed.  While a small amount of the world’s total energy consumption is powered through solar energy, there is a potential for much more.  Asphalt roads, which began in the late 1890’s, were popularized in the U.S by Edmund J. DeSmedt (Asphalt).  These roads, blistering in the sun, provide us with very little apart from a surface on which to drive our vehicles; furthermore, there are several difficulties that asphalt is susceptible to.  The difficulty in maintaining roads, which constantly erode and form potholes, is not only a financial burden, but a constant danger to drivers and pedestrians. Scott and Julie Brusaw, founders of the startup company Solar Roadways, proposed a solution to this and many other problems posed by our primitive roadway infrastructure.  Solar Roadways intends to replace asphalt roads with encased solar panels that will provide countless benefits to our society.  While many may see the short term price tag as a deal breaker, it is important for the future of our society to remain with our sights set on tomorrow.  We have been given an opportunity to attain a clean future much sooner than many once believed.  Our great civilization has come to one of the most important crossroads in its history; indeed, before us lays both a trail darkened by the primitive infrastructure of our past, and a path lit by the energy of a bright and innovative future.

    Scott Brusaw and his wife, Julie, often tell the story of how they met at the age of four.  Scott is an electrical engineer, and Julie is a passionate environmentalist.  It is appropriate that they would come together in the way that they have to propose to the world an idea as innovative and environmentally conscious as the solar roadway.  Their idea is to use photovoltaic cells, which absorb photons of light and directly convert them into electrons to produce electricity (NASA Photovoltaics), and encase them in hardened frames of tempered glass capable of withstanding the pressures of constant traffic.  The specifications for their glass, which was developed by three separate universities, has been tested to withstand 250,000 pounds of pressure; furthermore, it is shaped to meet Federal Highway Association traction requirements for stopping large vehicles at high speeds (Brusaw FAQ).  This weight is almost twice that of a standard military tank, and three times the legal limit of 80,000 pounds.  The glass has also been designed to eliminate glare which would otherwise cause visibility impairments for drivers and pedestrians (Brusaw FAQ).  Solar Roadways has funded their innovative project through two separate grants from the FHA, as well as a recent crowd-funding effort which turned in nearly $1,900,000 in donations as of June 2, 2014 (Indiegogo).  The thousands who have donated have done so with noble cause: the project has the long-term potential to resolve many of the greatest issues currently ailing our world.

    One of the most troubling and urgent matters we face is the growing threat of global climate change.  Many organizations within the scientific community have released public statements endorsing the position stating "observations throughout the world make it clear that climate change is occurring, and rigorous scientific research demonstrates that the greenhouse gases emitted by human activities are the primary driver."  These organizations include, but are not limited to, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, American Geophysical Union, American Physical Society, and the U.S. National Academy of Sciences (NASA Consensus).  With the discovery of photovoltaic technology and our ability to harness energy from the light emitted from the sun, our ability to solve this problem is at our fingertips.  Based on calculations by Scott Brusaw of Solar Roadways, the solar road panels would cut greenhouse gases by 75 percent.  This would be achieved by eliminating the need for fossil fuel plants as well as the need for internal combustion engines (Brusaw Numbers).  Our ability to rely on clean energy, rather than the worn-out pollution inducing fuels pushed upon us by the oil giants we have depended on for decades, marks a turning point in our society.  A society run by clean renewable fuel is a higher form of civilization that we, as inhabitants of this planet, should all strive to leave behind for future generations.  The benefits of upgrading our roadways go well beyond its ability to save our planet.

    Critics of the proposal, based more on theory-crafting than cited evidence, point to its short term cost as a means to dismiss the idea as either impractical or entirely outrageous.  Ian Sevantes, in an article for online media website Complex, cited just such a concern (Sevantes).  This pattern of near-sighted thought has sown the seeds of doubt countless times throughout history.  As costs of college education continue to climb in the U.S, students continue to invest in their future despite the increased debt they incur.  Ignoring the fact that a solid education is an investment that leaves us enlightened and prepared for the future is as near-sighted as ignoring the capital gains a solar roadway would provide over time.  According to the National Resource Defense Council, the U.S spends tens of billions of dollars each year on oil (NRDC).  Creating a roadway infrastructure based on clean energy that eliminates our need to spend billions of dollars annually would save us immense amounts of money which would be used to pay off the project.  Another important factor is that when the infrastructure is eventually paid off, it will continue to generate these savings which can be applied toward any other number of other domestic improvements.  The savings this infrastructure will provide our children and grandchildren can power the innovation of technologies our generation can only dream of.  Regardless of the initial price, the economic boost a project of this magnitude could provide is not limited to the distant future.

    It is in the heart of every American, and indeed everyone who inhabits our great planet, to leave behind a legacy for the coming generations that we can be proud of.  The educated minds of tomorrow will judge kindly the men and women who left for them an innovative society powered by clean, renewable energy.  By Brusaw’s calculations, the mere construction and installation of the project would create 2,500,000 jobs for ten years.  The estimate includes only installation and doesn’t factor in workers to create the circuit boards, glass paneling, software, LED lights, or people to occupy distribution centers (Brusaw Recovery).  These jobs, which will revitalize the American economy and drive down unemployment, are the platform on which we can come together with the common goal of leaving behind a safe, clean world.  The project would also transform jobs in the oil industry to clean jobs, and end the geopolitical struggles posed by our dependence on foreign oil.  Natural resources including coal and oil have repeatedly sparked disputes leading to invasion, war, and immeasurable loss of life.   Solar roadways are a means by which we can come together to save lives domestically as well as abroad.

    Our current roadways are crumbling, and it is no wonder; we are relying on pollutive techniques and materials first developed over a century ago.  The maintenance required in filling potholes, cracks, and eroding asphalt is costing municipalities needless dollars they could spend elsewhere.  In 2010, the city of Tulsa, Oklahoma alone estimated the cost of temporary pothole repairs to be $3.00-$9.00 per pothole.  Having filled over 70,000 potholes (Tulsa) during that year, a conservative estimate of their cost for temporary repairs is $350,000.  These are dollars being used to keep drivers and pedestrians safe from potentially fatal accidents.  This is in stark contrast with the proposed solar panel roadways, which come with many safety features our current roads lack.  The tempered glass paneling is impervious to potholes, saving countless tax dollars in maintenance.  Broken panels could be easily replaced, saving maintenance crews time and money.  The panels each contain a layer of programmable LED lighting to light the roadway with street markers, warning signs, traffic light colors, and much more (Brusaw FAQ).  These safety features can save countless lives, creating a roadway system that not only pays for itself and keeps our planet clean, but also keeps our drivers and pedestrians safe from harm.

    Google has recently developed technology which amplifies the idea that a solar roadway system would keep drivers safe.  They have developed a car which can receive an input destination and drive completely on its own, using sensors above the car to detect objects up to 200 yards away in all directions (Google qtd.in Griggs).  This technology could be advanced by allowing the car to receive information about surrounding objects directly from the roadway system.  The potential for this technology is to create not only electric vehicles powered by solar energy; but further, to create self-driving cars with unlimited information about surrounding objects including automobiles, pedestrians, animals, or even basketballs and footballs thrown into the street by children.  This project, while ambitiously large, is an opportunity for us to transcend the dated technologies of the 18th century and move toward the future.

    Putting aside, for a moment, the social imperative presented by all of the issues this project resolves, there is still much that this project brings that our old roadway system does not.  The aesthetically futuristic nature of this project is something we can be proud to leave behind for our children.  To quote the recent viral video released by Solar Roadways: “It would look like freakin’ Tron out there!” (Brusaw Solar Freakin’ Roadways).  While the aesthetic superiority of a solar roadway system seems to pale in comparison its other countless benefits, it may, surprisingly, turn out to be one of the most important.

    Since the release of the viral video Solar Freakin’ Roadways on May 18, 2014, social media has exploded with discussion on the topic.  While many are extremely excited and enthusiastic about the prospect, others remain skeptical.  Many skeptics of the project cite a similar claim to dismiss the idea: they say the project is impractical compared to other solutions available to us.  They claim that solutions such as lining the sides of all roads or rooftops with solar panels is more feasible because it would cost less than rebuilding our roadway infrastructure.  While this is likely true, it is a premise that leaves out many key factors that must be evaluated before arriving at any such conclusion.

    A solar roadway system, as opposed to rooftop solar panels, has the ability to melt the snow and ice that causes driving delays and accidents.  The system increases nighttime visibility of street markings; furthermore, it paves the way to mutual induction technology for electric vehicles, which would allow them to charge while driving.  It saves road maintenance crews time and money by eliminating potholes.  Most importantly, there is one attribute that solar roadways have that alternative energy systems lack, which brings us back to why the aesthetics are so important: they have the public motivated to initiate change.

    This idea cannot be stressed enough: any task, from the mundane to the immense, requires as a resource the motivation of those assigned with the responsibility to complete it.  No student graduating high school will successfully graduate college without the motivation and drive to do so; similarly, no project as colossal as powering the U.S with clean, renewable energy will be completed without the motivation and enthusiasm of the American people.  Those arguing that rooftop or roadside solar panels are a reason why a solar roadway system is impractical are missing a key point: Scott and Julie Brusaw have captivated the world with their imagination, and inspired us to believe we can do something great for the world, regardless of the scale.  The inspiration of the people of the world is the resource that can drive the momentum that this project needs to begin moving forward, an inspiration that putting solar panels on our rooftops comes nowhere near providing.

    While there are a plethora of benefits this project would provide, there will always be interests that stand in the way of change.  Greed, coupled with a judiciously regulated free-market system, has driven corporations and conglomerates to seize revenue opportunities at the expense of the American people.  In 2013, the Minnesota Attorney General asked the federal government to investigate Humana after compiling several hundred pages of documents which allegedly proved Humana was denying legitimate insurance claims to its insured.  This instance speaks to the gravity of the situation; surely, those whose interests are not aligned with clean energy will fight tooth and nail to make sure this idea never sees the light of day.

    “I hope we don’t have to wait until oil and coal run out before we tackle that,” spoke a wishful Thomas Edison about solar energy.  Before us lays a choice that will affect the coming decades and even centuries to come.  According to some scientists, we are in a transitional period in our history that will determine the outcome of our entire civilization.  Renowned theoretical physicist Michio Kaku spoke on this topic.  “I see two trends in the world today.  The first trend is toward a multicultural, scientific, tolerant society and everywhere I go I see aspects of that birth.  […] However, every time I open the newspaper I also see the opposite trend as well” he admitted.  The time has come for the people of this nation, and indeed the world, to come together under a common goal and cast aside the negativism and dated mindsets that have repeatedly hindered the advancement of our society.  No single individual has an obligation to put their best interests aside for the betterment of others; nonetheless, we must search within ourselves and decide what is important to us.  We may continue, as we have for a century, to live in the past and blame money and greed for our problems regarding climate change; or, we can stand up and build ourselves the roads that will lead us to a bright, clean future.

                                                 Works Cited

Brusaw, Scott. "Frequently Asked Questions." Solar Roadways. Solar Roadways, 18 May 2014. Web. 08 June 2014.
    "Economic Recovery." Solar Roadways -. Solar Roadways, n.d. Web. 05 June 2014.
    "The Numbers." Solar Roadways. Solar Roadways, n.d. Web. 05 June 2014.
    “Solar FREAKIN’ Roadways”.  YouTube, 19 May 2014. Web. 05 June 2014.
http://www.solarroadways.com/...

"Consensus." NASA Climate. NASA, n.d. Web. 07 June 2014.
http://climate.nasa.gov/...

Knier, Gil. "How Do Photovoltaics Work?" - NASA Science. NASA, 06 Apr.
        2011. Web. 05 June 2014.
http://science.nasa.gov/...

"Solar Roadways." Indiegogo. Indiegogo, 21 Apr. 2014. Web. 05 June 2014.
https://www.indiegogo.com/...

Sevantes, Ian. "An Engineer Explains Why the Solar Roadway Is Actually a Bad Idea."
        Complex.com. Complex, 1 June 2014. Web. 02 June 2014.
http://www.complex.com/...

"Safe, Strong and Secure: Reducing America's Oil Dependence." NRDC. National
        Resources Defense Council, 27 Oct. 2004. Web. 05 June 2014.
http://www.nrdc.org/...

"History of Asphalt." History of Asphalt. National Asphalt Pavement Association, n.d.
        Web. 08 June 2014.
http://www.asphaltpavement.org/...

Hoffman, Paul. "Will Mankind Destroy Itself?" Big Think. Big Think, 10 Sept. 2010. Web.
        05 June 2014.
http://bigthink.com/...

"Pothole Repair." City of Tulsa Online. Tulsa, n.d. Web. 05 June 2014.
https://www.cityoftulsa.org/...

Originally posted to Yomby on Mon Jun 16, 2014 at 02:26 PM PDT.

Also republished by Community Spotlight and Kosowatt.

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

  •  Since everything you've cited is on the Web (10+ / 0-)

    please provide links to each work cited. Thanks.

    •  Also, don't consider this solution in a vacuum. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Nowhere Man, Choco8, koseighty

      Your enthusiasm for identifying and promoting innovative technologies is wonderful, and I salute you for it and encourage you to keep on. But an important...indeed, critical...component of technology evaluation is to consider how it stacks up against alternative solutions. And when one does this for the 'solar-freaking-roadway' (SFR) it becomes apparent that, even as sexy as the SFR concept is, the current hype is much ado about nothing.

      Here's a quick and necessarily rough back-of-the-envelope example. One (of many) competing technologies for generating solar power at industrial scales is Thermal Electric, the best example of which is the Ivanpah Solar Power Facility in the Mojave Desert. It uses fields of computer-controlled mirrors to focus sunlight on a central tower which converts that light to heat to generate steam to generate electricity. So how does SFR stack up against Ivanpah-style thermal electric? Although the Solar Roadways web site is notoriously short on hard numbers, we can still do some limiting calculations, as follows:

      Ivanpah covers 4,000 acres and cost $2.2 billion (see the above-cited Wikipedia article). Four thousand acres equals 174,240,000 square feet. A stretch of 4-lane interstate highway (68 feet wide) with the same total square footage would be 485 miles long. Ivanpah's overall efficiency at converting sunlight to electricity is projected to be 29% (studies are still underway, as the facility only recently went online). Conventional photovoltaics, when mounted horizontally, have typical conversion efficiencies of just 9%. Considering that SFRs are roads, which get dirty and can be shaded by trees and structures, let's knock that down just a little, to say 7%. Thus, to generate the same amount of electricity as Ivanpah, a SFR would need to be about 2009 miles long...the better part of coast-to-coast.

      So, to be economically competitive with an Ivanpah-like solar thermal facility, it would be necessary for a SFR to cost no more to build than $1.1 million per mile ($2.2 billion divided by 2009 miles). No one knows yet how much a SFR would cost to install per mile, but let's think about the $1.1 million per mile limit. Is it realistic? Nope. It costs $1.25 million just to conventionally mill and resurface a conventional 4-lane interstate highway with fresh asphalt. I think it's safe to assume that SFRs will cost a lot more to manufacture and install than does asphalt...at least an order of magnitude more, maybe two. So there's just no freaking way that solar freaking roadways can be economically competitive with competing industrial-scale solar electric technologies.

      Now, I will be the first to admit that the above analysis does not take into account a number of mitigating factors in favor of SFRs: they require no new land surface (and thus have little or no negative ecosystem impacts), they're not ugly (like Ivanpah), and they promise added safety benefits. Still though, as an investor, I wouldn't primarily care about those things. What I would care about would be the optimal way to invest my money in solar electric solutions. And the above calculations strongly suggest (to me, anyway) that no investor in his right mind would consider SFRs to be a good way to invest his money in solar. Why does it matter what evil old investors think? Because nothing on this scale happens without investment...a lot of investment. Even if we're just talking about the federal government as the investor.

      You may not be old enough to remember the hype surrounding the introduction of the Segway scooter...the manufacturer assured us all that it would revolutionize the urban landscape and save the world. That was, of course, nonsense...merely hype generated in the hope of exciting investors. But investors did the numbers and concluded "Mehh." Sad to say, I think the same thing will happen with SFRs. They might find some very limited applications, but they are not a serious solution to any of our society's energy and environmental problems.

      No person is free except in the freedom of other persons, and that man's only real freedom is to know and faithfully occupy his place -- a much humbler place than we have been taught to think -- in the order of creation. (Wendell Berry)

      by DocDawg on Wed Jun 18, 2014 at 07:30:10 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  That is a Great Post (0+ / 0-)

        But your efficiencies are wrong, the original efficiency of the panels analyzed was only 10.4%  Solar City panels are operating in the 24% range now, these efficiencies are going up rapidly.

        From the reference doc (btw. your link is broken!)

        Impact of Array Inclination and Orientation on the Performance of Grid Connected Solar

        The annual PV efficiency calculated from annual total insolation and annual PV output for various surface tilt and azimuth angles is shown in Fig. 9. The maximum annual PV efficiency is 10.4% for a south-facing surface with a tilt angle of 20

        and

        For horizontal and vertical surfaces, the annual PV efficiencies are approximately 1.2% and 15.5% lower, respectively, than the annual maximum.
        (page 131

        -So the best fixed orientation is a 20' tilt with a south facing orientation at 10.4% efficiency and the effect of having a horizontal panel reduces that efficiency by only 1.2% of the original efficiency or 98.8% of total

        Based on the current technology trajectory, I expect that these panels (once ready for full implementation) will be approaching 15% of total annual insolation efficiency (about 1/2 of panel efficiency of 30%)

        Be the change that you want to see in the world

        by New Minas on Sat Jun 21, 2014 at 09:18:31 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  More (0+ / 0-)

        a 4 lane highway has a minimum of 12 foot wide lanes, a 10 foot wide shoulder and a 4 foot wide inner shoulder (on both directions)

        so the width of a 4-lane highway is 48 feet + 28 feet = 76 feet.

        So, reduce the length of your analysis by 12%

        Also

        Ivanpah (which, by the way looks BEAUTIFUL!) is 3,500 acres not 4,000 acres as you say

        Be the change that you want to see in the world

        by New Minas on Sat Jun 21, 2014 at 09:30:34 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Finally (0+ / 0-)

        your calculation is off by a factor of 10

        square feet per acre = 43,560
        square feet per mile of 4-lane = 76 * 5,280 = 401,280

        acres per mile of 4-lane = 9.21

        Ivanpah = 3,500 acres
        4-lane mile equivalent = 380 miles

        If the 4-lane is only 14% efficient vs. ivanpah 28% then it would take 760 miles to equal one ivanpah-ish generator.

        (remember we are talking about a system that won't be install ready for another 10 years or so.)

        -----------------

        WRT cost calculations, lets just say you want to rebuild the aging and outmoded electric transmission grid and place the power lines into subsurface conduits for greatly increased reliability. . .OH wait!  we can do that while making solar roads. . .ok, so that portion of the rebuild cost is not included since it would have been an expense without solar roadways.

        oh, and you have to basically rebuild your roads ever 20 years (through repairs/resurfacing) anyways, so how much of these roadways are already scheduled for replacement OH wait!  we can do that while making solar roads. . .ok, so that portion of the rebuild cost is not included since it would have been an expense without solar roadways. . .

        Lets say you want to calculate the reduced numbers of accidents by having heated roads that de-ice themselves. . .what is the savings in lives and damages and insurance associated with that?

        Lets say you want self-driving cars that can charge while they are driving. . .

        what are the values of that?  What if you could charge a premium energy cost of 5cents per kWh for the luxury of unlimited mileage to electric vehicles (this is about 1/2 the current cost of gasoline)  how much money would you make from direct sales?

        see how the cost/benefit changes quickly?

        Be the change that you want to see in the world

        by New Minas on Sat Jun 21, 2014 at 09:40:27 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Priviledged to be your very first recommend (27+ / 0-)

    It's a very well-researched paper (read it a million times) ;o)  It's wonderful to see you finally join DKos to diary it, and I hope you'll participate here more.

    Disclaimer:  I'm the diarist's mom, and couldn't be more proud of him and his 4.0+ GA.

    "Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress Chris Christie. But I repeat myself." ~ Mark Twain, (with a twist) ;o)

    by Terre on Mon Jun 16, 2014 at 03:03:45 PM PDT

  •  Mostly Pie in the Sky (10+ / 0-)
    A solar roadway system, as opposed to rooftop solar panels, has the ability to melt the snow and ice that causes driving delays and accidents.
    This has not be proven in any way, shape or form. The idea that these roadways would be self-clearing in Northern states is ridiculous on it's face.
    •  Agree on snow (9+ / 0-)

      They may be able to build some melting ability into the road, but if its enough to keep the road clear, it will be a huge energy consumer.

      I worry about weakening the overall argument by including clearing of ice and snow from the road.

      •  actually doing the math, to melt a cubic yard (5+ / 0-)

        would only take about 150 watts over 2 days.

        This would be under the worst possible blizzard conditions, even a medium squeegee effort in the biggest blizzards would greatly reduce the energy demands.

        people like to parrot what others have said, without actually doing the math.

        The math works on this one.

        however, even if they did use salt and squeegee for the roads under big snow, the melting properties is only a secondary benefit to the technology, not a primary one.

        Be the change that you want to see in the world

        by New Minas on Mon Jun 16, 2014 at 04:32:14 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  2 days is too long to clear a road for most users (4+ / 0-)

          And remember that if the road is covered in snow, it's not generating power.

          Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

          by elfling on Mon Jun 16, 2014 at 05:01:39 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  it takes 2 days (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            FarWestGirl

            for the snow to accumulate,

            when was the last time you saw 3 feet of snow in less than 2 days?

            Be the change that you want to see in the world

            by New Minas on Mon Jun 16, 2014 at 05:55:29 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  of course (5+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Terre, ichibon, Volt3930, FarWestGirl, Sunspots

              this would be a massive blizzard for most locations which, if a squeegee truck went over it once, the snow/slush would be pushed off of the road and the rest of the melt would happen without a hitch.

              one must remember that the surface of the road is above freezing so the snow won't stick, just pile up as slush to be pushed off by car tires and squeegee plows if necessary.

              otherwise the melt will happen and it is back to business when the sun comes back out.

              (without the risk of black ice, multi-car pileups, death and dismemberment)

              Be the change that you want to see in the world

              by New Minas on Mon Jun 16, 2014 at 05:57:37 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  the worst storm in chicago (5+ / 0-)

                accumulated 23 inches in 30 hours.

                this is a lot less than the 3 feet in 2 days above.

                so, yeah, 150 watts per square yard, + squeegee once or twice and you are good to go.

                Be the change that you want to see in the world

                by New Minas on Mon Jun 16, 2014 at 06:01:04 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Have You Ever Lived Someplace Snowy? Cold? (5+ / 0-)

                  We have 2 or 3 weeks a year with temperatures hitting about -15° F with highs near 0° F.

                  Are you going to keep the roads at 33° that whole time, or wait for the snow to fall and then bring them up from -15 or -20 to 33?

                  •  with the roads clear of snow (6+ / 0-)

                    they will absorb much more heat energy from the sun as well as generate electricity during the day.  only a small amount of heating from below the surface would be enough to keep the surface near freezing on clear nights.  Remember, the first snows of the year don't stick on roads because the large substrate mass is still warm.

                    keeping those roads only slightly heated (say 15 watts per square yard at night) would allow the thermal mass to be ready to melt large snows when they come, then a larger amount of energy (about 150 watts per square yard) would be able to melt off the snow when it comes.

                    Remember, most heavy snows happen right at 32'F.

                    Be the change that you want to see in the world

                    by New Minas on Mon Jun 16, 2014 at 07:00:53 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  At 15 below, there's little heat energy absorbed (3+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      koseighty, Choco8, ColoTim

                      The roadways in places that get really cold turn into ice-roads for days at a time, despite plowing, sanding, and salting. The temperature makes a difference in how much effect the heat from insolation can make - and that's on a black surface, which is entirely inappropriate for solar panels, which must remain cool (relatively) in order to produce energy efficiently.

                      :::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::
                      Can you help me make Green Planet Heroes happen?

                      by radical simplicity on Mon Jun 16, 2014 at 07:43:52 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  At 15 below, there's no snow in the air (2+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        Terre, Volt3930

                        And the insolation potential is still good no matter the air temperature.

                        Visit http://theuptake.org/ for Minnesota news as it happens.

                        by Phoenix Woman on Mon Jun 16, 2014 at 08:55:31 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  Good to Know (2+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          Choco8, ColoTim

                          Snow doesn't drift at -15°F?  Good to know.

                        •  Thanks! I'll remember that next winter (8+ / 0-)

                          When I'm out bringing in a load of firewood in 15 below weather. I'm sure if I tell myself the snow that's falling doesn't exist, it will clear itself off the path to the wood shed.

                          We may not get as much snow when it's that cold, but it can, indeed, snow at those temps. Frequently. And usually it happens to be cloudy for days at a time during periods when we get snow.

                          When you get down around -29 it's really, really unlikely, but there are some folks who spend quality time in Antarctica who might be more able to describe exactly which conditions and temperature ranges are least snow-filled.

                          I speak as a person who lives with off-grid solar. I am intimately acquainted with the weather's effects on electrical output. I love solar, and really want to see more people adapt it. The solar roadways idea ignores the laws of physics in so many ways, it's scary. I wish all that money had gone to solarizing some schools.

                          :::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::
                          Can you help me make Green Planet Heroes happen?

                          by radical simplicity on Tue Jun 17, 2014 at 04:32:47 AM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  Some is better than none. (6+ / 0-)

                            The argument here seems to be come down to "The roads won't melt snow because they won't melt snow in the coldest conditions."  It seems like a narrow argument for a couple reasons.

                            If you compare the infrastructure we have in place today with encased solar panels, you'll see that regardless of whether or not the product will melt snow in every possible temperature and under any possible situation, it will surely melt snow under more circumstances than our roads do today.

                            Another issue is that as you invest in any technology, and more research is put into it, inevitably the technology will improve and become practical in more situations, likely including colder climates as the energy return per panel is optimized over time.

                            It's important if we're going to have a discussion about any upcoming technology that we don't sell it short because it doesn't, at first, overcome obstacles such as extremely cold weather that it may well overcome in the future.

                          •  Plow My Glass Road, Please (5+ / 0-)

                            Once you admit that it won't melt all the snow, all the time, you have to open yourself up to driving the plow over them.  And if that's the case, your solar roadway won't last a year.

                            And yes, things are worth looking into.

                            But this crew are so clueless -- heated roads, LEDs, water treatment plants, military uses, etc. -- I'd rather have the money going to someone who acknowledges the laws of physics, math, conservation of energy, that type of thing.

                          •  But I resonate with their type of grammar . . . . (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            koseighty

                            so I'm thinking of giving them a pass on everything else:

                            Won't an EMP take out your Solar Roadways?

                            The term electromagnetic pulse (sometimes abbreviated EMP) is a burst of electromagnetic radiation that results from an explosion (usually from the detonation of a nuclear weapon) and/or a suddenly fluctuating magnetic field.

                            [snip]

                            Distance effects EMP because EMP is a short burst of energy that immediately begins travelling out from its source in all directions. As the distance from the source increases the energy gets spread over an ever widening sphere that we call a wave front.

                            Or, if the grammar is correct, the previous paragraph - which suggests that nuclear weapons effect EMP - must not  be.
                          •  what a whiner (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Yomby

                            with a minimal imagination.

                            if the snow isn't iced on the surface then a metal blade is not needed, a simple strong rubber blade, similar to those used on ice rinks would easily do the job.

                            However, the idea that it won't melt is false, on its face, as I showed above.

                            you are simply naysaying and bringing up talking points, written by dishonest individuals.  

                            Be the change that you want to see in the world

                            by New Minas on Tue Jun 17, 2014 at 04:18:53 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  What happens when it's cloudy for a week? (3+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Nowhere Man, koseighty, Choco8

                            Seriously. have you ever actually used a solar panel for anything?

                            I live with this technology every single day. It is our sole electricity source.

                            You know what we have to do in the winter when there are several cloudy days in a row? Keeping in mind that our solar panels that are actually aimed toward the sun?

                            We have to run a generator, because the panels produce NO electricity. Period.

                            Even on the sunniest days, there is less sun in the winter - both in terms of hours of sunlight, and in terms of sunlight actually reaching the panels through the a thicker layer of atmosphere that the sun must penetrate at the lower angle during the winter.

                            Tilt the panels at an inappropriate angle (like say, flat on the ground), and you're getting no charge at all. None. The angle matters.

                            Let's do some math, using the actual real world, ignoring the fact that solar panels laid flat on the ground will get tiny, tiny amounts of charge - probably close to enough to power the charge controller that directs the energy into the grid.

                            Let's pretend for a minute that we can ignore the whole angle of incidence thing, and pretend that the panels charge as if they were angled toward the sun.

                            A road surface for a single-lane each way is 30 feet wide. Let's take a 3 foot long section. This roughly correlates to enough 270 Watt panels to cover 90 square feet.

                            This segment of road can produce 1474 watts if it's perfectly sunny, there is no shading, and there is no dirt on it. In winter, in areas that get snow, the typical charge-day length is 10 am to 3 pm (not enough sun early in the am or late in the afternoon). That gives 8844kWh.

                            To melt a skim coat of snow in New York City on an average winter day takes 342 BTUs per hour, per foot. (table is on page 13 of the linked PDF)

                            1 watt of electricity per square foot creates 3.41 BTU/(hour*sq.ft). (http://www.heattechproducts.com/...)

                            So, on this one 3 foot stretch of road, we're talking:

                            90 sq ft *  100.3 watts every hour, for a total of 9026 kWh - just to melt a dusting of snow.

                            That's 182 watts more in one hour than would be produced by properly angled solar panels with no shading on a perfectly clear winter day.

                            The numbers go to hell very quickly if you have to melt any significant volume, or if the ambient temperature is much below 32 degrees, or if the relative humidity is high, or if the air is very still.

                            There is a reason that heated pavement is heated with geothermal hot water - because electricity is a terribly, unbelievably inefficient heat source. And there is a reason pavement isn't heated, in general - because it's cheaper, easier, and more efficient to NOT do that.

                            :::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::
                            Can you help me make Green Planet Heroes happen?

                            by radical simplicity on Tue Jun 17, 2014 at 08:30:33 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  b.s. (0+ / 0-)

                            they were never supposed to be the sole source of power. they don't need to be, it is ok if they are under clouds for a week.  they will generate energy if when they are not.

                            your assumption for the requirements are overstated. The use for heated sidewalks for the entrance to a hospital is not the same as the requirements for a roadway.

                            there are no mentions of a "dusting" of snow.  you are just making stuff up.

                            the electric energy produced by a flat panel under clouds is the same as a tilted panel due to scatter.

                            how much ice can 100 watts of energy melt in an hour. . in volume?

                            you are overestimating by almost a power of 10.

                            also you are underestimating the energy production capability.

                            in the end the number of snow days are far far less then the number of sun days.

                            And the best part?  it will be a public use infrastructure, paid by tax dollars that will generate electricity for a new federal authority that will undercut the monopolies that are destroying your grandchildren with CO2 emissions.

                            get real.

                            Be the change that you want to see in the world

                            by New Minas on Tue Jun 17, 2014 at 10:43:05 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  so they're supposed to be a power drain? (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Choco8, koseighty

                            I linked to actual technical papers from organizations that DO the melting of ice and snow on surfaces professionally. Real world data from real experience.

                            Where are your numbers from? They don't even make sense. How many BTUs are needed to turn that snow into water over what period of time under what conditions? "150 watts" all by itself is a completely meaningless number.

                            If I stick a wire capable of handling 150 watts into the snow and turn it on for a millisecond, I've applied 150 watts to the snow.

                            No matter how long that wire is on, it's still applying exactly 150 watts. But that's not telling us anything about how much electricity is being used to generate the heat to melt the snow.

                            The number only has meaning if you add time.

                            You can only calculate the time needed by including the amount of heat energy that has to be applied to the surface.

                            The organizations that deal with this stuff for a living have, conveniently, tracked the data and posted it for other professionals to use in calculating the size of the system they need in order to make their customers happy.

                            Those data have shown that ambient temperature, wind, and relative humidity are important factors in determining how much heat is needed for melting, based on a region's typical climate.

                            They posted a table with examples and ACTUAL numbers of BTUs necessary per square foot.

                            I could melt snow with 10,000 watts.  Under the right conditions, I could melt snow with 10 watts.

                            The question is HOW LONG will it would do I have to apply that 150 watts to the snow in order to produce the number of BTUs necessary to melt that snow. The TIME is a critical measure when you're talking about electricity.

                            A kWh - the unit of electricity for which you're billed each month, is a measure of Watts (the W) over time (h for hours) divided by 1000 (the k). The electric company can't bill you for "150 watts" because all that says is the capacity of the wire you're using. It means nothing without information about the amount of time you've got that volume running through the wire.

                            It's very clear you know nothing about the way electricity works.

                            I am a very strong proponent of solar power. Once again - I LIVE on solar. Every. Single. Day.

                            I think everyone should be getting a significant portion of their power from solar - via community net metering, if their own property can't support it.

                            Roads that aren't angled toward the sun (leading to a lowered angle of incidence), with a thick layer of bumpy glass (diffracting a good portion of the sun away from the cells) will be a complete waste of money, accomplishing nothing. And if they're really supposed to waste the miniscule amounts of electricity they do produce on something as stupid and inefficient as heat, they'll provide a net energy loss, to boot.

                            I know it's a very appealing and exciting idea, but it simply cannot work. At all. Probably ever, though who knows what technology will be dreamt up over the coming decades.

                            :::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::
                            Can you help me make Green Planet Heroes happen?

                            by radical simplicity on Wed Jun 18, 2014 at 04:22:11 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  you only need (0+ / 0-)

                            To have the snow melt while it is accumulating, and for maybe another 12 hours after that.

                            once the sun comes back out the panels will heat back up from the sunlight.  You took a chart that had no tech specs you don't know how much snow you can melt per hour with the energy you are assuming.  it is about 10X the worst blizzard on record.

                            you don't consider that the road substrate is already much warming than a normal winter road

                            you take these assumptions and follow them to the obvious conclusion.  Bad info in = bad info out.

                            you are absolutely wrong about this.

                            You act like there is a shortage of surface area.  what if the solar panels were only 5% efficient for the end result?

                            The value of reduced maintenance, snow removal, accident loss combined with the value of the energy generated and the ability for direct car/roadway communication was 10X more valuable than the cost of the roadway over a 20 year period.

                            And it will be a publically owned infrastructure that generates more electricity than the U.S. needs per day.

                            what's not to like?

                            :-)

                            Be the change that you want to see in the world

                            by New Minas on Wed Jun 18, 2014 at 10:10:26 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  how much ice (0+ / 0-)

                            can you melt with 100 watts in one hour?

                            how much snow depth (over 1 square foot of area) would this amount of ice typically be?

                            hmmmmmmmmm????

                            extra credit if you show your math.

                            Be the change that you want to see in the world

                            by New Minas on Wed Jun 18, 2014 at 10:12:21 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  I gave you the math using *real world* data (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Choco8, koseighty

                            ... from a place where they actually melt snow from outdoor surfaces, from people who build such systems for a living.

                            You may not like how the real world works, but the laws of physics are not going to change just because you wish they were different.

                            :::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::
                            Can you help me make Green Planet Heroes happen?

                            by radical simplicity on Wed Jun 18, 2014 at 08:38:30 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Still flailing away (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            koseighty

                            I think we could just run wind turbines from all the hot air over SFR and be done with it.

                          •  have you ever shoveled snow? (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            koseighty

                            ever?

                            it's really hard work.

                            Try shoveling with a squeegee

                          •  dude we barely heat the occasional bridge (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            koseighty, Choco8

                            or occasional outdoor sidewalk, it's a really hard problem

                      •  The ground surface doesn't hit -15. The mass of (3+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        Sunspots, New Minas, tobendaro

                        the ground doesn't allow the temp to drop that far. Air temp will be much lower than the road surface. Road surface temps shouldn't get much less than ~30F, so the differential levels out.

                        The ground freezes and the frost level gets deeper over time, but the actual ground temp doesn't keep dropping past a certain point.

                        Information is abundant, wisdom is scarce. ~The Druid.
                        ~Ideals aren't goals, they're navigation aids.~

                        by FarWestGirl on Tue Jun 17, 2014 at 12:55:07 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

              •  A squeegee truck? (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                koseighty

                I'm going to hazard a guess here that you don't live in a snowy climate. Even a mirror-smooth glass surface roadway (which solar-freaking-roadways are not) couldn't be cleared with a squeegee. Ice happens (particularly after the first car has rolled over snow, or melting snow refreezes. It doesn't stay all nice and powdery like in a scene from the Bing Crosby/Danny Kay/Rosemary Clooney classic, Holiday Inn.

                A flamethrower + squeegee truck, maybe.

                No person is free except in the freedom of other persons, and that man's only real freedom is to know and faithfully occupy his place -- a much humbler place than we have been taught to think -- in the order of creation. (Wendell Berry)

                by DocDawg on Wed Jun 18, 2014 at 08:41:20 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Ice doesnt happen (0+ / 0-)

                  if the surface and substrate is already well above freezing.  These are solar panels, they conduct electricity as well as absorb significantly more heat energy during the day, this large substrate thermal mass helps to keep the surface above freezing, so a slush forms on the surface, a squeegee simply pushes the slush mass off of the ice.

                  even so, during the day when a car runs down the road, the amount of area that is exposed from the tire treads, increases the electricity generation and heat production (even on a cloudy snowy day)

                  Snow never sticks to roads unless the roads are well below freezing, this is why the first few snowstorms of the year don't stay overnight.

                  Be the change that you want to see in the world

                  by New Minas on Sat Jun 21, 2014 at 09:53:55 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

            •  Interstate 80 over the sierra (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              radical simplicity, ColoTim

              not uncommon.

              Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

              by elfling on Mon Jun 16, 2014 at 06:19:25 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  I doubt it could melt three inches of snow. (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Choco8, koseighty, ColoTim

              That's an easy challenge to meet.  Developers can drop the flashy video and just take one of their panels to Wisconsin in the winter and we can see how much snow it melts.

            •  it's been about 20 years (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              koseighty

              but it has happened here (Boston)

              Politics is like driving. To go backward put it in R. To go forward put it in D.
              DEMAND CREATES JOBS!!!
              Drop by The Grieving Room on Monday nights to talk about grief.

              by TrueBlueMajority on Mon Jun 16, 2014 at 09:09:28 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  hit post too soon (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                koseighty, ColoTim

                link to the wiki article on the April Fool's Day blizzard

                I tpought it was in 1994 but it was in 1997

                some of the smaller western suburbs reported 3 feet of snow

                Politics is like driving. To go backward put it in R. To go forward put it in D.
                DEMAND CREATES JOBS!!!
                Drop by The Grieving Room on Monday nights to talk about grief.

                by TrueBlueMajority on Mon Jun 16, 2014 at 09:12:59 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Here is the analysis (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  TrueBlueMajority
                  On March 30, Boston was sunny with a high temperature of 63°F and a cold front passed the next day dropping the temperature into the 40s.[2] Just prior to dawn on Monday March 31, precipitation began to fall in the form of light rain.[2] In Boston the rain began to mix with wet snow mid-morning and eventually turned to wet snow and became heavier just after 7 p.m. From 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. the snow fell at a rate of at least 1 inch (25 mm) per hour.[2]

                  During the peak of the storm from about 11 p.m. March 31 to 3 a.m. April 1, snow fell in Boston at the rate of 3 inches (76 mm) per hour

                  so it was 33 inches of snow in 24 hours

                  just 24 hours prior to that the temperature was 60 degrees and sunny.

                  so the roads were generating electricity and the surface was about 65 degrees, the substrate was about 85 degrees due to the absorption of solar heat and the heat generated by electric conduction.

                  the next day a storm came in and dumped 3 feet of snow.

                  since a significant portion of the snow would be melted simply by the residual heat in the thermal mass of the substrate, an additional 150 watts per square yard would keep the roads ice free, allowing cars to drive on them which would clear a trench in the surface snow for solar power to be generated (small amounts at first).  This allows for more heat absorption and electricity generation.

                  In this case, the city of Boston would have saved about 50 million dollars in plowing and economic losses alone.

                  Be the change that you want to see in the world

                  by New Minas on Sat Jun 21, 2014 at 10:03:29 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

            •  We see it all the time in Alaska. Should test it (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              koseighty

              out in some community here.  Along with new snowplow design that won't rip the panels.

          •  The heaters worked fine this winter in Idaho... (0+ / 0-)

            ...as folks who've followed this project know.

            There's a reason thatthe videos for SR show Snow Being Melted.

            For a nice list of debunked anti-SR myths, see:

            http://solarroadways.com/...

            Visit http://theuptake.org/ for Minnesota news as it happens.

            by Phoenix Woman on Mon Jun 16, 2014 at 08:54:19 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Not a Cold Place (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              ColoTim

              In a town where it rarely is below freezing during the day.

              What about towns where it's nice to get up to 0° some weeks?

              •  Don't put solar roadway there? (0+ / 0-)

                Seriously, I don't understand all this back and forth from the extreme. Why not more level headed discussion on the possible limitation and application of the panels?

                Yes, it's very likely that the panel will be crap in northern areas. Take out the heater and it'll be perfect for southern states, where there's metric-butt-ton of sunlight and very rarely have freezing.

                LED capable panel might work well in very limited cases (maybe recreational parks? Where you might want to have pretty lights for some added pizzaz?). But overall, I would say that just take them out and just pain over them. Yes, efficiency for some may suffer, but trying to beat sunlight with your own brighter light is just not smart.

          •  Maintaining the unfrozen surface takes less than (0+ / 0-)

            melting already frozen ice/snow. There's a latent heat issue in the change between states of water, (solid-liquid-solid).

            There would also presumably be transfer of electricity from uncovered areas to those needing to be cleared once the capacity to keep the new precip liquid was overwhelmed.

            In any case it would be a huge improvement over the current situation. I wouldn't mind seeing piezoelectric capacity added, especially in the higher latitudes, to make use of mechanical energy from moving vehicles as an adjunct generating source for winter weather.

            Information is abundant, wisdom is scarce. ~The Druid.
            ~Ideals aren't goals, they're navigation aids.~

            by FarWestGirl on Tue Jun 17, 2014 at 12:47:05 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  You cannot extract that mechanical energy (4+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              koseighty, Choco8, FarWestGirl, pigpaste

              without an equal or greater energy cost to the automobiles moving over it.

              The only way to extract mechanical energy via piezoelectric effects is for the road to flex slightly under the cars. (This would be quite a feat to accomplish with rigid glass plates, but never mind that.) If the road flexes, that means the cars moving over it are constantly in a slight depression, and constantly rolling "uphill" compared to their motion over an equivalent rigid roadway. That means the cars must consume more energy (be it gasoline or electric) to move over that surface.

              TANSTAAFL: There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch. Especially in physics.

              Let us all have the strength to see the humanity in our enemies, and the courage to let them see the humanity in ourselves.

              by Nowhere Man on Tue Jun 17, 2014 at 02:44:42 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  MIRACLE Glass -- What's Hard to Understand? (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                FarWestGirl, pigpaste

                These panels seem to suspend conservation of energy somehow.  So they should be able to convert motion into energy WHILE charging the cars wirelessly.

                I'm real interested to see how.  /snark

              •  Some minor flex in the mounts might be possible- (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                eagleray

                one of the nice points of this proposal is that it's all modular, so improvements can be made incrementally over time, and side by side, as data is collected.

                I'm not convinced that the actual roadways are the main use for these- related to oil & other waste fluid cast off. But as shoulders, center lines, parking lots, sidewalks, bike lanes, etc, they may be useful and I'm interested to see some pilot projects and how they pan out. (or don't)

                Information is abundant, wisdom is scarce. ~The Druid.
                ~Ideals aren't goals, they're navigation aids.~

                by FarWestGirl on Tue Jun 17, 2014 at 04:08:05 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  I completely agree (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  koseighty, FarWestGirl

                  with your second paragraph.

                •  It just may be possible (4+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Choco8, koseighty, pigpaste, FarWestGirl

                  but it's completely counterproductive. The laws of thermodynamics guarantee that you will suffer a net loss of energy for every bit of flex in the roadway, whether or not the flex is added for the sake of piezoelectric generators.

                  The laws of thermodynamics, in layperson's terms:

                  1) You can't win.

                  2) You can't break even.

                  3) You can't even quit the game.

                  Anyone who tries to sell you a system that violates one of these rules -- such as a perpetual motion machine, or an "automobile engine" that runs on water -- is selling snake oil.

                  Let us all have the strength to see the humanity in our enemies, and the courage to let them see the humanity in ourselves.

                  by Nowhere Man on Tue Jun 17, 2014 at 06:20:35 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Agreed that there will always be a net loss... (0+ / 0-)

                    jiggering the efficiency and the ratios are where progress may be made, but there's no way not to have losses.

                    Information is abundant, wisdom is scarce. ~The Druid.
                    ~Ideals aren't goals, they're navigation aids.~

                    by FarWestGirl on Wed Jun 18, 2014 at 10:57:33 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  If there will always be a net loss (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      koseighty, Choco8

                      then the only way to win is not to play. Seriously: there is no point in trying to become more efficient at something that will always produce a net loss. No matter how efficiently you do it, you'll always be consuming more energy, not less, than if you just didn't do it at all.

                      (The only way I can see around this is if you have some special application in mind. For example, perhaps you could implement regenerative braking via the roadway, thus collecting usable energy that would otherwise have been wasted, as hybrid cars do now. But I seriously doubt that regenerative braking via the roadway could ever be practical, especially if the technology you have in mind is piezoelectrics. I'm just tossing it out there as an example.)

                      Let us all have the strength to see the humanity in our enemies, and the courage to let them see the humanity in ourselves.

                      by Nowhere Man on Wed Jun 18, 2014 at 12:55:40 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                •  Yes, in places where conditions are "ideal" (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  koseighty, FarWestGirl

                  for a significant part of the year such as the dry season on the west coast and in the southwest, the panels would become dirtier and dirtier, with accumulated oil mixed with tire particles and no rain to wash it off, however inefficiently.

        •  2 days to melt snow? (3+ / 0-)

          Nah, that's not going to cut it in Vermont. What if it keeps snowing and drifting for 2 days, with sub-zero temps? Tyhe heat output would have to be crazy just to keep up, with potential widespread on/off icing occurring when the system was unable to keep up with thermal loss. This is a common weather, not some rarity.

          If you can't run a standard plow truck over it, it just isn't going to cut it in the Northeast, and many other cold climates.

          I'd love to see your math, BTW.

          •  all they have to do (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Terre, Phoenix Woman, Volt3930

            is keep the surface a few degrees above freezing.  it really doesn't take much to maintain a differential, especially with the residual heat from the substrate and heat from the earth constantly coming up.

            Be the change that you want to see in the world

            by New Minas on Mon Jun 16, 2014 at 07:10:30 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  maybe you should (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Phoenix Woman, Volt3930

            do the math yourself before being a naysayer and propagandist against a technology that has such a transformative potential.

            unless, maybe you CAN'T do the math, in which case you are just talking out of your ass.

            Be the change that you want to see in the world

            by New Minas on Mon Jun 16, 2014 at 07:14:09 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  That's not how it works (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              koseighty

              The people pushing this need to show the math, and until they do, they are the ones talking out their ass.

              Prove it works, in the real world.

              And still waiting for your "math".

              •  So you're saying the DoT is stupid? (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Just Bob, Volt3930, Yomby

                They were among the biggest funders of SR's R&D phase.

                By the way, you cute little "debunking" video has itself been shot full of holes:

                http://solarroadways.com/...

                Visit http://theuptake.org/ for Minnesota news as it happens.

                by Phoenix Woman on Mon Jun 16, 2014 at 08:57:37 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Touché (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Volt3930

                  Nice rebuttal.  Thanks for sharing it.

                  "Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress Chris Christie. But I repeat myself." ~ Mark Twain, (with a twist) ;o)

                  by Terre on Mon Jun 16, 2014 at 09:04:26 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                •  Early Phase Grants (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  rarely comments, ColoTim

                  The DoT gave these folks 2 early phase grants to develop the idea.

                  Notice how the DoT isn't funding further research?  See how they are turning to the public for funding?

                  Something tells me the DoT determined (from the first 2 phases) that it wasn't worth putting more money into.  Just a guess.

                •  Many point make in the video, I agree, don't make (0+ / 0-)

                  sense.
                  A few engineering hurdle they still need to address.
                  1. Roadway needs to be flexible, glasses are not. They may have recognized that and make their design in small modular hexagon, and basically transfer the "flexing" stresses to the interconnections between the module. That may be more solvable.
                  2. Scratched glasses. This reduces efficiency. Might not be that big of a deal if the cost of installing the solar roadway is near parity with existing pavings.
                  3. LED - Just take it out and reuse existing road signage techniques (paint over it + reflectors).  The power cost to light those LED is going to be a nightmare (you definitely don't want the road to generate heat in southern states).

              •  ok smartass (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Terre

                it takes 335 kj/kg to melt ice

                7.62 cm of snow is 3 inches of snow
                snow usually has a water content of about 15%

                so 7.62 cm of snow is actually only 1.14 cm of ice

                over a square meter is .0114 cubic meters of ice

                a cubic meter of ice is 1,000 liters of ice

                so 11.4 liters of ice

                a liter of ice is 1 kg

                so 11.4 kg of ice

                so 335,000 joules of energy to melt one frozen liter of ice

                so 335,000 joules times 11.4 kg is 3,829,000 joules of energy to melt that ice.

                a joule per second is a watt

                there are 86,400 seconds in  a day

                so 3,829,000 joules divided by 86,4000 seconds is 44.3 watts applied over a 24 hour period to melt the ice

                if your electric co charges you 10 cents per kw-h that is just a little bit over $1.00 worth of energy.

                Be the change that you want to see in the world

                by New Minas on Mon Jun 16, 2014 at 08:58:41 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  How much of that energy will actually heat the ice (4+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  koseighty, elfling, Volt3930, Choco8

                  and how much of it will be lost to the ground?

                  Let us all have the strength to see the humanity in our enemies, and the courage to let them see the humanity in ourselves.

                  by Nowhere Man on Mon Jun 16, 2014 at 09:43:15 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  the ground (0+ / 0-)

                    is already warmer solar panels heat up by conducting electricity, that heat energy is constantly warming the ground.   Also solar panels absorb more sunlight energy than roadways, so that heat energy (even on subfreezing days) is warming below the surface.  The substrate of a solar roadway would be maintained above 70 degrees even on a subfreezing day, this heat energy at night would contribute to melting the  surface even without heating elements.

                    Be the change that you want to see in the world

                    by New Minas on Sat Jun 21, 2014 at 10:07:23 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                •  That sounds very pricey (7+ / 0-)

                  For example, let's consider WalMart with a 100 m x 100 m parking lot.

                  It'd cost them $10,000 to clear it using this method.

                  I'm not sure how much they pay but I have an acquaintance who'd do it for $500 (so I suspect less than that, or why haven't they hired him?)

                  •  But It's Freakin' SOLAR (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Roadbed Guy, Choco8

                    It doesn't matter how much it costs, if it's SOLAR it's wonderful!

                    Say it costs 10 times more to pave using these tiles than asphalt.  And say we have to then use supplemental energy from existing power plants to heat road and run 24/7 LEDs that people can't see.  Yes, we've spent WAY more for no benefit -- BUT IT'S FREAKIN' SOLAR!

                    Why can't people understand that?!?

                  •  commercial isn't charged residential rates (0+ / 0-)

                    I quoted residential rates, commercial rates are usually about 1/3 that cost.

                    so, $3,000 for a 100 meter by 100 meter shopping center parking lot (Walmart isn't that big sorry)

                    This is just about what it costs to light the parking lot with conventional street lights now, every night.

                    however, the increased safety for the shopping center would lead to decreased costs in liability insurance as well as the potential for lawsuit and settlement costs.

                    not to mention the value of the electricity that would be generated throughout the year. . .

                    so yeah, easily covers the cost.

                    quit yer whining'!

                    Be the change that you want to see in the world

                    by New Minas on Tue Jun 17, 2014 at 04:25:37 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  It really isn't economical. (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      koseighty

                      I support solar roadways, but the whole melting snow thing is totally impractical. And no, commerical rates aren't that much less than residential, and even industrial rates aren't nearly "about 1/3 that cost".

                      There's a reason it's not standard practice to install heating coils under parking lots. It's just too expensive.

                      Now, if you already have heating elements there, there could be situations where they could make sense - not to melt snow, but to melt a super-thin ice/frost coating over the road. Deep snow/ice, no, but if there's just a tiny bit making your surface slick, yes, you could get rid of it that way. Bonus points if instead of heating your whole road surface, you only heat the traction tread on your anti-slip glass surface, further minimizing what you have to melt.

                      The day I'll consider justice blind is the day that a rape defendant's claim of "She consented to the sex" is treated by the same legal standards as a robbery defendant's claim of "He consented to give me the money": as an affirmative defense.

                      by Rei on Tue Jun 17, 2014 at 07:14:26 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  you have no idea what is economical or not (0+ / 0-)

                        because you don't know what the offset in costs, expenses and risk will be.

                        you also don't know what the cost per panel will be

                        you also don't know what the value of energy generated will be.

                        you have absolutely no idea what the economics are involved with this equipment.

                        so you have no clue if it is economical or not.

                        if you provide a low-level heat supplement to the geothermal gradient already present and bump up the energy under heavy snowfalls you can easily make up for the energy loss by solar power generation during the day on normal cold days and after long-cloudy snow days make up the energy in only a few days of normal sunny operation.

                        the amount of energy consumed by the warming aspect is TINY compared to the total annual solar energy generation potential.

                        (plus it pays for itself in lives save, wear and tear by non-use of snow plows and cost of salt-as well as corrosion and logistics issues).

                        total win.

                        Be the change that you want to see in the world

                        by New Minas on Tue Jun 17, 2014 at 10:49:31 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  Wow (2+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          Choco8, koseighty
                          because you don't know what the offset in costs, expenses and risk will be.

                          you also don't know what the cost per panel will be

                          you also don't know what the value of energy generated will be.

                          you have absolutely no idea what the economics are involved with this equipment.

                          so you have no clue if it is economical or not.

                          My irony meter exploded.
                          •  LOL! It's Green Energy's (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            koseighty

                            version of the Brooklyn Bridge Sale.

                            And eager buyers are already forming a queue.

                          •  you are making a cost-benefit analyis (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            koseighty

                            without cost-benefit information.

                            what a hilariously pathetic effort.

                            Be the change that you want to see in the world

                            by New Minas on Wed Jun 18, 2014 at 10:00:13 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Yup, irony is dead (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            koseighty
                            you are making a cost-benefit analyis
                            without cost-benefit information
                            Stick a fork in it.
                          •  No, we're doing a very simple comparison. (3+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            koseighty, Nowhere Man, Choco8

                            What electricity costs versus how much electricity you have to use to melt snow.

                            I'm not saying "solar roadways are uneconomical". I'm saying "melting snow with electricity is uneconomical". Because it is, very simply. We have all of the figures. The laws of physics aren't going to change because your heating elements are embedded in solar roadways versus just in a concrete parking lot.

                            The day I'll consider justice blind is the day that a rape defendant's claim of "She consented to the sex" is treated by the same legal standards as a robbery defendant's claim of "He consented to give me the money": as an affirmative defense.

                            by Rei on Wed Jun 18, 2014 at 01:41:46 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  bull (0+ / 0-)

                            show me the math.

                            I have shown plenty of how and why it is completely economical.

                            if it is so uneconomical, then how do you explain this?

                            http://www.heatizon.com/...

                            or the technical specifications of this product as it is CURRENTLY utilized on driveways.

                            3.    For energy efficiency and in order to provide heat output that is sufficient for floor and space heating, the heating cable shall have a nominal rating, in correlation with selection of the heating cable, of 5, 9, or 12 watts per lineal foot in Iced Water @ 32ºF

                            Be the change that you want to see in the world

                            by New Minas on Wed Jun 18, 2014 at 04:44:04 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  It's economical on driveways because of (3+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Nowhere Man, Choco8, koseighty

                            overhead. Most of the cost of having someone plow your driveway is getting them out there. The cost per square foot to plow a road or large parking lot is an order of magnitude less than having an isolated driveway plowed. Two orders of magnitude difference versus things like stairways or isolated sidewalks. Show me a single town that uses electric melting systems under its primary roadways.

                            You yourself did the math that showed that melting a couple inches of snow costs a dollar per square foot.  Assuming perfect efficiency. Versus the 5 cents per square foot it costs to plow. That's a 20-fold pricedifference assuming perfect melting efficiency

                            You don't get it, do you? I'm a supporter of doing more work with the solar roadway concept. But I'm not going to sit idly by while it undercuts its credibility with stupid claims that defy all logic. And this "melt the snow away" concept defies all logic. The electricity cost is way more than the cost of plowing.

                            It'd be really spiffy if it made economic sense to melt snow off roads. But it simply does not.

                            The day I'll consider justice blind is the day that a rape defendant's claim of "She consented to the sex" is treated by the same legal standards as a robbery defendant's claim of "He consented to give me the money": as an affirmative defense.

                            by Rei on Wed Jun 18, 2014 at 07:23:31 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  those costs were (0+ / 0-)

                            residential rates commercial is about 1/3 and municipal is even less than that, plus these roads will maintain a significant amount of thermal mass simply by generating and transmitting electricity so they will never start off less than freezing.

                            you say that the electricity is too expensive, how do you suppose the presence of the panels themselves will affect the overall cost of electricity in a region?

                            Figuring that these panels won't be installed onto actual roads for at least another 10 years, what is the price of solar power generated electricity going to be then?  Battery storage technology?  

                            http://www.digitaltonto.com/...

                            is your crystal ball so great that you can tell me how these things won't work now?

                            If there are 20 full snow days in a winter necessary for defrosting the panels, how many full sun days will it take for the panels to make up the energy that they used?

                            this is the kind of out of the box thinking that we are going to need to overcome the very serious challenges that face us re: climate change.

                            Be the change that you want to see in the world

                            by New Minas on Wed Jun 18, 2014 at 08:51:29 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  that being said, (0+ / 0-)

                            if the cost of plowing is so much more than the cost of electrical heating, then the amount of electricity that is used by heating can be reduced significantly by a "squeegee truck" pushing slush off of the roadway.

                            Be the change that you want to see in the world

                            by New Minas on Wed Jun 18, 2014 at 08:54:14 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  You're really going to keep going with this? (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Choco8, koseighty

                            Even if your "1/3rd" figure was correct (more on that in just a second), you would still be off by an order of magnitude. You're not even in sight of the ballpark of economical.

                            Secondly, as I already pointed out to you, your 1/3rd figure is not even close to correct. Now you've changed "commercial" to "municipal", which isn't even a category of electricity. Commercial rates are barely cheaper than residential rates. The "cheap" category is industrial, but it's still nowhere near the sort of prices you're talking about. You used 10 cents per kilowatt hour as your base, so 1/3rd would be 3,3 cents per kilowatt hour. The actual rates are 12,12 for residential, 10,29 for commercial, and 6,82 for industrial. Over double what you want to discount prices to. And less than one thirteenth the cost of plowing, and that's only if you assume perfect efficiency in melting the snow, which won't even come close to happening, as the melting snow will constantly be losing heat to the atmosphere and trying to refreeze (ignoring losses to the ground and direct-to-air losses too, both convective and radiative).

                            what is the price of solar power generated electricity going to be then?  Battery storage technology?  

                            Adding batteries and making your solar panels as road panels only makes them more expensive. You're not even close to the ballpark; you just make yourself look ridiculous when your arguments demand orders-of-magnitude improvement to prove economical. Just drop the stupid melting snow argument, it only detracts from the cause, a cause I actually want to see happen. You invite ridicule to the whole concept.

                            The day I'll consider justice blind is the day that a rape defendant's claim of "She consented to the sex" is treated by the same legal standards as a robbery defendant's claim of "He consented to give me the money": as an affirmative defense.

                            by Rei on Thu Jun 19, 2014 at 03:13:39 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  not even close (0+ / 0-)

                            the industrial rate is the one I was talking about.  Have you ever heard of Net Energy Metering?

                            Battery tech and solar tech are both going to be orders of magnitude cheaper in the next decade.  That is because we are going to see a substantial increase in the cost of carbon and it is going to make these technologies cost according to what they actually are:  part of the solution.

                            There are so many holes in your opposition to this technology, it is obvious that you haven't a clue to what you are talking about.

                            like:  what happens when the first car drives on the road when there is snow?  it melts, because the panel is above freezing.  so the light that is shining down onto the panel starts to be absorbed as heat and generates electricity.

                            even panels that are covered in 1 foot of snow generate some electricity.  put a 12 inch path in it and you are generating a significant portion of the electricity you need.

                            At night? sure, no problem, the panels have been generating electricity prior to the sun going down, absorbing heat and emitting heat from conduction of electricity.  

                            This is why solar panels on homes naturally defrost so rapidly after a storm.

                            this is only a small part of the obvious errors in your calculation.

                            We are going to be carbon emission free by 2040.  This technology is a good way to get there, obviously with some important technical developments.  However, your idea that it just isn't cost effective isn't taking into account so many of the benefits (they aren't just solar panels and they aren't just roads) that it feels like you are just making shit up and whining about inconsequential things.

                            The entire substrate of the road starts off well above freezing when the storm starts.  This residual heat is going to be a major factor in helping to keep the roads ice free.  You neglect to even consider that fact.

                            Be the change that you want to see in the world

                            by New Minas on Fri Jun 20, 2014 at 07:03:47 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  The irony is (0+ / 0-)

                            that you think it is ok to shoot down an idea without information but not okay to tentatively support an idea until the information is made available.

                            Be the change that you want to see in the world

                            by New Minas on Wed Jun 18, 2014 at 10:02:38 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  There is absolutely nothing tentative (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            koseighty, Choco8

                            about your support for this project.

                            I've counted at least half a dozen diaries with you as the primary cheerleader for this project, even though there has been no substantial changes in the amount of information available from the first.

                            FFS, you've started multiple diaries COUNTING the amount of funding the project has received.

                            And the data and physics people are using to cast doubt on some of the claims are, in fact, information, just information you happen to either disagree with or ignore., such as the real world BTUs required to melt snow cover instead of an idealized E = m*C*dT + m*Hf that you proposed.

                            So please, spare us your deceptive framing of the 'careful, tentative' proponents and 'ignorant' critics of the idea.

                          •  I wasn't talking about me (0+ / 0-)

                            I

                            DON'T CARE if it is cost effective.  

                            I

                            want to see a publically financed solution to global warming in the next 20 years that reduces total U.S. emissions (including deforestation, agriculture and cement) by 80%.

                            Because this is the

                            only

                             way we will have a survivable society for our grandchildren in 60 years.

                            I was talking about you

                            and your inability to allow for a tentative support until the economic facts are substantiated or refuted.

                            you idiot.

                            Be the change that you want to see in the world

                            by New Minas on Wed Jun 18, 2014 at 12:58:17 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  yes you are (0+ / 0-)

                            and this is why.

                            I choose to support innovative ideas with significant transformative potential, even if they are not based on a free-market paradigm.

                            that is because I know what it took to make this country great.  AND what it took to keep South American countries from developing into pluralities with strong manufacturing centers.

                            The (potential) benefits of this technology are.

                            1.  reduced emission for electrical energy production (at a value of over $450.00 per ton of reduced CO2 emissions over the lifetime of the generation potential).
                            2.  higher road life
                            3.  reduced maintenance and winter-snow related costs
                            4.  increased safety notification
                            5.  real-time car-road intercommunication technology potential
                            6.  EV charging capabilities (using capacitors and Wi-Fi "handshake" allowing unlimited EV car mileage
                            7.  The value of the electrical energy generated
                            8.  increased traction and reduced winter accident rates
                            9.  sub-level electrical power distribution - reduced long-term maintenance costs
                            10.  smart grid development for distributed generation (we will have to replace the grid anyway, so this cost can be rolled into the solar road infrastructure costs.

                            11.  whatever new technology infrastructure development may become possible with 1-10 above (including but not limited to self-driving cars and a new paradigm off self-driving automobile sharing instead of personal vehicle ownership.

                            I want all of these (potential) benefits to be fully accounted for, as any real analysis would have to do for any real transformative technology.

                            This, is called, "suspension of disbelief".  Wherein the scientific method ACTUALLY lies.

                            instead of the guttural grunts of "ugh, it costs too much to melt snow. . ."

                            These benefits and real costs must be taken into account before we discount the potential of new transformative technologies.

                            unless you want to just kill it because you want to kill your grandchildren.

                            Be the change that you want to see in the world

                            by New Minas on Wed Jun 18, 2014 at 01:26:06 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  So you admit (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            koseighty

                            that your support is neither tentative, nor based on scientific reality.

                            Good to know.

                            So, how about you stop fucking spamming DKos with your personal wet dream, eh? This site isn't supposed to be for marketing campaigns. Why don't you get back to us when they actually start laying tiles on the interstate.

                            Btw, the direct insults in your post are HR-worthy, just FYI.

                            Additionally, I have a 6kW solar panel array on the roof of my house? How about you?

                          •  my support (0+ / 0-)

                            is spurred on my expectation of a very high likelihood of success based on non-free market principles-within the scientific reality that the threat of climate change poses to future generations of Americans.

                            your opposition to it is not based on science but rather ideology.

                            I am not marketing anything.

                            you are not allowing for arguments that provide tentative support, with suspension of judgment, until the facts are in.

                            I see a potential technological resource that, along with many other non-free market structural adjustments, may save over 5 billion human lives over the next 60 years, and I support the fullest exploration of that solution.

                            what have YOU brought to the table?

                            nothing.

                            not a goddamn thing.

                            Be the change that you want to see in the world

                            by New Minas on Wed Jun 18, 2014 at 02:50:53 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  except maybe (0+ / 0-)

                            a couple of sockpuppets.

                            Be the change that you want to see in the world

                            by New Minas on Wed Jun 18, 2014 at 02:55:30 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Ideology?! (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Choco8

                            IDEOLOGY?!

                            Listen up, little man. I already stated that I have put my money where my mouth is and put up solar power on my roof, long before it became 'the thing'.

                            Not only that, my ENTIRE CAREER is scientific research into alternative, non-fossil fuel energy sources, for which I'm paid adequately, but far less than I would be making in the private sector.

                            I'm allowing for every single valid argument put forward, but your clap-trap doesn't make the grade. It is not based in scientific principles, but rather pie-in-the-sky wishful thinking.

                            What I and others in this and other diaries have brought is a critical scientific and technological analysis that is utterly lacking in you and your cheerleader friends.

                            I won't do you the disservice by claiming they are your sockpuppets.

                            So, can you tell me exactly what sort of ideology, other than being generally against junk science and snake-oil con jobs, are you claiming I have?

                            Am I against solar? Nope, invested in it.

                            Am I against alternative energy? Nope, built my career on it.

                            Just what exactly am I supposed to be against, other than your little pet marketing spam?

                          •  let me fathom a guess (0+ / 0-)

                            biofuels?

                            or maybe the fossil fuel industry red herring of hydrogen fuels?

                            obviously something related to transportation. . .

                            something that this technology might threaten. . .

                            feel like giving a hint?

                            Be the change that you want to see in the world

                            by New Minas on Wed Jun 18, 2014 at 03:28:33 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  you do then agree (0+ / 0-)

                            that global warming is an existential threat, one that we are witnessing already today with the ISIS moving from Syria to Iraq and impacting 15% of volume oil sales to India, who is already suffering from the worst heatwave in history and a crushing delay of the monsoon season,

                            that these climate change produced security and social destabilization effects will increase in scope and severity on an exponential trend all over the world, compounding over time (the drought of Syria actually happened 2 years ago but is now impacting India)

                            and that the Top of Atmosphere energy imbalance will increase by over 160% over the next 25 years following the trendline developed over the last 25 years.

                            That the IPCC AR5 maximum projected sea level rise (95th percentile) published only 1 year ago is ALREADY the new minimum based on recent analysis published by Dr. Rignot last month, and that his models neglected to adjust for future potential warming (so 2-3 meters by 2100 is the new expected 95th percentile)

                            In this new paradigm of total global economic and political destabilization in the next 50 years, why would you NOT want to explore every potential solution?

                            except for ideology. . .

                            for your amusement, please pay attention!
                            to

                            Be the change that you want to see in the world

                            by New Minas on Wed Jun 18, 2014 at 03:39:46 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Yeah, threatened. (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            New Minas, koseighty

                            Which is why I put solar on my roof.

                            Not even close, fusion technology. Something that is so long range that it is neither threatened by, nor (unfortunately) does it threaten any alternate energy research that is currently being implemented.

                            I posted facts in one or two of your many previous diaries, mostly information that you've subsequently ignored there and in this diary.

                            And your accusations of sock-puppetry are bordering on the HR-able.

                            You just can't seem to understand that there are other, technically minded people like myself, fully invested in bring non-fossil fuel solutions to the market ASAP, who look at this particular implementation as an unproven, expensive, and technically challenging option.

                            Which is fine. Being from fusion, I have no right to criticize anyone for tackling challenging project. However, their claims are grandiose, unproven, run contrary to general technical and scientific principles, and will face challenges in the real world that they simple have not tested yet. So sure, let's write a diary or two to begin with, and then when they actually lay down several miles of road that lasts more than one season, let's write another.

                            But not another diary each time some private company raises another few hundred thousand dollars, no?

                            If I were to come here and start advertising fusion as 'the solution' in the next 10 years, I should be laughed out of the room. Which is why I don't do such advertising.

                            And neither should you.

                          •  I am not advertising, (0+ / 0-)

                            I do cost-effective analysis for new efficiency and renewable technologies.  I know what the technological potential is for current and short term (3-5 year) future tech in the sector.  I also know what the challenge is ahead of us regarding climate change.

                            I know that the skunkworks have a serious issue ahead of them with a declaration of a 4 year timeline to working prototype and the problem with 7.5Mev capture gammas. . .

                            I also know that it is healthy to be skeptical.  It is also important to state what is true.

                            having someone say that a technology, which won't be ready for another 10 years or so, is not going to be cost effective, especially when it has many other intangible benefits that must be included in the calculation is so shortsighted it makes my skin crawl.

                            basically, I am saying that, without a $400.00 social cost of carbon per ton of CO2 and a total societal mobilization, including a government budget approaching 40% of GNP annually, we are simply not going to have a livable world in 75 years.  

                            I see this as a much larger potential.  

                            Good for you on your fusion experiment, in another lifetime I was one myself, until I found out it was simply going to be a weapons testing program.

                            Be the change that you want to see in the world

                            by New Minas on Wed Jun 18, 2014 at 09:07:17 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  However (0+ / 0-)

                            I do realize that the technology, once it is road-ready, will be significantly different in design, material structure and generation potential.

                            but did you consider the residual heat within the panel simply from electrical conductivity?  the thermal mass of these things must be massive.

                            Be the change that you want to see in the world

                            by New Minas on Wed Jun 18, 2014 at 09:10:25 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  well, (0+ / 0-)

                            if this is you, then I understand why you might be unhappy about their successful campaign.

                            http://scitation.aip.org/...

                            However, I do hope that your efforts are successful, more than you know.

                            Be the change that you want to see in the world

                            by New Minas on Wed Jun 18, 2014 at 09:36:08 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  I have reviewed your statements (0+ / 0-)

                            and found that you have not posited a single scientific fact that supposedly invalidates the reasonable potential to this technology.

                            unless. of course, you are posting as another user somewhere else.

                            care to elaborate on exactly what you think is "critical scientific and technological analysis" that invalidates the potential of this technology at its current stage of development?

                            hmmmm?

                            Be the change that you want to see in the world

                            by New Minas on Wed Jun 18, 2014 at 03:45:29 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  well (0+ / 0-)

                            this is a suprise

                            I guess even the white house expects great things from these two inventors.

                            Be the change that you want to see in the world

                            by New Minas on Wed Jun 18, 2014 at 04:01:42 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                    •  Hmm, heya, wait a minute here... (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      New Minas

                      Solar panels are very low reflectivity. Not as low as an asphalt parking load, but far better than concrete. And they only take about 20% of the energy they soak up as electricity for sale. You'll probbly get about 30% more solar heating on a solar road than on a concrete one, which will store heat in the ground underneath them, making them more likely to melt snow. And since you're manufacturing the panels, you can make them porous, equivalent to a traditional approach to snow minimization (porous surfaces that let melt drain away)

                      The day I'll consider justice blind is the day that a rape defendant's claim of "She consented to the sex" is treated by the same legal standards as a robbery defendant's claim of "He consented to give me the money": as an affirmative defense.

                      by Rei on Tue Jun 17, 2014 at 07:26:57 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  that is a good point (0+ / 0-)

                        having snow on the surface of a road to begin with is a major part of keeping the snow from melting when it falls again.  The reflection of the sun keeps the surface of the snow cold.  If you take that snowy road and scatter carbon on top of it, making it black, the snow melts in an hour.

                        Be the change that you want to see in the world

                        by New Minas on Tue Jun 17, 2014 at 10:51:22 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                      •  Increasing the urban heat island effect is a (0+ / 0-)

                        positive?

                        •  ah so, (0+ / 1-)
                          Recommended by:
                          Hidden by:
                          pigpaste

                          the paid climate denialist hack reveals himself,

                          good job you guys, keep pulling for the team. . .

                          may the curses of your grandchildren fall upon your lives today.

                          Be the change that you want to see in the world

                          by New Minas on Wed Jun 18, 2014 at 10:16:47 AM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  Yet another fact-free assertion. (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            koseighty

                            Ad hominems will get you nowhere, especially when you use them against kossacks asking reasonable questions.

                            Such as, why do the inventors suggest using a sunblock, titanium dioxide, to keep the panels clean? Does that make sense?

                        •  If that's your argument... (0+ / 0-)

                          ... then you must oppose all solar panels in-town. Do you?

                          At least solar roadways store part of their heat in-ground versus full air-cooling, and use the heat for a positive purpose.

                          The day I'll consider justice blind is the day that a rape defendant's claim of "She consented to the sex" is treated by the same legal standards as a robbery defendant's claim of "He consented to give me the money": as an affirmative defense.

                          by Rei on Wed Jun 18, 2014 at 01:44:21 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  Of course not, because solar panels (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            koseighty

                            sited appropriately are far more efficient than solar roads would ever be, and thus take up less area.

                            What productive purpose is served by heating the ground more in midsummer?

                          •  You're not helping your argument. (0+ / 0-)
                            What productive purpose is served by heating the ground more in midsummer?
                            What productive purpose is served by heating up the air more in midsummer? You support in-town solar panels, so why are you supporting heating up the air in town with them?

                            And FYI, the ground is a heat store, as anyone who's ever been in a cave can attest. The first snows of the year melt so quickly not because of heat in the air but because of radiating ground heat.  Not to mention that any heat you store in the ground during summer is heat you're not releasing straight into the air, thus reducing the heat island effect.

                            solar panels sited appropriately are far more efficient than solar roads would ever be
                            And you're arriving at this how? Most in-town installations are on residential roofs, which are hardly optimal. Nobody plows roofs. Where does your "far more efficient" number come from? And how do you plan to achieve economies of scale with something like that?

                            The day I'll consider justice blind is the day that a rape defendant's claim of "She consented to the sex" is treated by the same legal standards as a robbery defendant's claim of "He consented to give me the money": as an affirmative defense.

                            by Rei on Thu Jun 19, 2014 at 03:25:37 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  We're talking about summer, (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            koseighty

                            when the heat island effect is an issue. Where in the US does one have to clear snow from roof-top solar panels in the summer?

                            The objections to this project are reasonable, and you proponents have little factual basis for defending it and instead jump to ad hominems. If you don't want well-informed people criticizing solar roadways, hype them somewhere else, where you might find readers to be as stupid as you seem to assume we are. I'm not sure where that would be.

                          •  It's not an ad hominem... (0+ / 0-)

                            ... to point out that the exact same problem you ascribe applies to rooftop panels, only worse. Please address the question: why do you support heating up the city air in the summer with rooftop panels? Or are you going to pretend that rooftop panels magically provide no heat island effect while ground panels (which lose part of their heat to the ground) do?

                            I find it funny that I'm being attacked on both sides on this thread, as being pro solar roadways and anti-solar roadways. I'm pro honest debate. If I think an argument is faulty, I'm going to call it.

                            Now I'd like an answer. Why are you faulting solar roadways for contributing to a heat island effect yet supporting the even worse proposal (in terms of the heat island effect) of rooftop panels?

                            Where in the US does one have to clear snow from roof-top solar panels in the summer?
                            Hold on, let's not pull a bait and switch here. You wrote:
                            Of course not, because solar panels sited appropriately are far more efficient than solar roads would ever be, and thus take up less area.
                            To which I countered, contesting your claim that they take up less area for a given amount of power generation because they stay better cleared in the winter, and thus generate more electricity. Unless you're trying to claim that the only electricity generation that matters is in the summer, your response here about clearing off snow in the summer is nothing more than a deliberate red herring. Is this really the sort of debate tactic you want to go with?

                            Remember, the topic to which I was responding to was your claim that rooftop panels, and I quote, "take up less area" per unit output and "are far more efficient". If they're covered in snow for a quarter of the year, how are they "far more efficient" and taking up less area? What evidence at all do you present toward them being "far more efficient" and "take up less area"?

                            The day I'll consider justice blind is the day that a rape defendant's claim of "She consented to the sex" is treated by the same legal standards as a robbery defendant's claim of "He consented to give me the money": as an affirmative defense.

                            by Rei on Thu Jun 19, 2014 at 09:49:54 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                  •  None of the electrons at Walmart are (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    koseighty

                    full-time employees with benefits, though.

            •  He's been shown the facts and data over and over (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              BobTheHappyDinosaur, Volt3930

              And it's had zero effect on him.

              Witness his schlepping around a video that claims that glass is softer than asphalt.

              Visit http://theuptake.org/ for Minnesota news as it happens.

              by Phoenix Woman on Mon Jun 16, 2014 at 10:02:05 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  It's not the hardness of asphalt. (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Choco8

                1. The "asphalt" referred to in the road is actually asphalt concrete, where asphalt (the sticky stuff) is used as a binder for much harder aggregates (generally rock).
                2. Ironically, the "softness" of asphalt is the reason we use them for road. It flexes, which means it can withstand repeated stress applied to it. The hard aggregates provides the structure support while asphalt provides the flexibility.

                Another key difference, a scratched asphalt still retains its desired property as an asphalt (namely, as a binding agent of aggregates that's flexible). A scratched glass loses a lot of its desired property of being transparent to light.

        •  This is how you know the idea is bogus. (4+ / 0-)

          How is a solar panel which is already operating inefficiently, because of it's low angle, the latitude at which it's been placed, the time of year, and the fact that the photo-voltaic cells only cover a fraction of the roadway supposed to produce more heat energy that just the sunlight falling directly on a blacktop surface?

          •  Tipped, but I have to point out (0+ / 0-)

            that the times when blacktop is producing heat energy are usually not the times when that energy is actually useful.

            Let us all have the strength to see the humanity in our enemies, and the courage to let them see the humanity in ourselves.

            by Nowhere Man on Mon Jun 16, 2014 at 08:49:44 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  they are connected to the grid (0+ / 0-)

            hello????

            Be the change that you want to see in the world

            by New Minas on Mon Jun 16, 2014 at 09:06:56 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Fossil Fuels to the Rescue! (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              rarely comments, ColoTim

              So we'll just burn fossil fuels to heat the roads at night? on cloudy days?  

              Seems to defeat the point.

              •  when does the wind blow (0+ / 0-)

                during the day or at night during a storm?

                hmmmmm???????

                I don't suppose you have any experience with batteries in your long, long experienced lifetime???

                Be the change that you want to see in the world

                by New Minas on Mon Jun 16, 2014 at 09:26:13 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  Nah, we will just store the energy (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Yomby

                produced by all the roads in deserts, or indeed, any area that is sunny, which will be more than enough to supply the frozen north with heat.

                Efficiency arguments miss the fact that this proposal, if fully implemented, would produce about 3 times as much electricity as we currently use, so there would be an abundance of energy to use for heating and lighting purposes.

                Storage is key, that's why GE's newest wind generators incorporate batteries to allow them to accumulate energy to flatten out the energy output, making it much more predictable. It's also why Utility companies are looking at buying used electric car batteries to use in large installations for "Grid Leveling". In effect, they can be used to smooth out all the fluctuations that currently occur with wind and solar generation.

                Reducing Oil Imports One Volt at a time.

                by Volt3930 on Tue Jun 17, 2014 at 11:50:59 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Used car batteries? Really, that's the solution?? (0+ / 0-)

                  Reminds me of when the NSA was running short of electricity . . . . More Power to the NSA: Donate Old Batteries to Help Solve the Agency's Electricity Crisis

                  Help the NSA fend of impending power outages by sending them your used or unused batteries! Although they might not contain enough electricity to power your flashlight, digital camera or radio, there is still some energy stored in them. And every little bit counts! So gather your old batteries and send them to the address below along with this letter. Put this sticker on your battery recycling bin.
                  •  So your solution with used electric car batteries (0+ / 0-)

                    is to throw them in a landfill?

                    A used electric car battery has around 70% of its original capacity. What do you think should be done with them? Even with the limited EV volumes on the road today, there's already several gigawatt hours of batteries out there. Not counting hybrids.

                    It's only natural that grid companies would want them as a cheap source of grid storage.

                    The day I'll consider justice blind is the day that a rape defendant's claim of "She consented to the sex" is treated by the same legal standards as a robbery defendant's claim of "He consented to give me the money": as an affirmative defense.

                    by Rei on Tue Jun 17, 2014 at 07:05:45 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  My used car batteries don't work at all (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      koseighty

                      that's why I get a new one . . . .

                      The bigger problem here is that car batteries typically are not resilient to all that many "deep charge" cycles - as would be required for this application.  

                      •  And that would be applicable (0+ / 0-)

                        if we were talking about the same thing. We're not.

                        Lead-acid starter batteries are....

                         * Less than one percent the capacity of an EV pack, meaning literally orders of magnitude more handling cost per unit capacity
                         * Nearly an order of magnitude less energy dense, meaning far more storage space
                         * Your "not working" relates to your usage. If you have a system that needs at least 10 volts, and your battery is outputting 9, your system won't work. But someone who needs 8-10 volts can use your battery just fine.

                        typically are not resilient to all that many "deep charge" cycles
                        First off, that's not at all true of the spinels and phosphates. And secondly, a grid operator can choose the cycle depth, nobody is holding a gun to their heads making them charge up to 100% and down to 0V.

                        The day I'll consider justice blind is the day that a rape defendant's claim of "She consented to the sex" is treated by the same legal standards as a robbery defendant's claim of "He consented to give me the money": as an affirmative defense.

                        by Rei on Wed Jun 18, 2014 at 01:37:48 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                    •  Or if this is only aimed at "electric car" (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      koseighty

                      batteries - then that might be more plausible - except for the tiny, tiny number of them out there . . ..

                      •  I just stated electric car batteries... (0+ / 0-)

                        so I'm not sure what post you were reading. And I just pointed out that even in this early stage there's already several gigawatt hours on the roads - an amount that will increase by orders of magnitude over the coming years. Do you really find that to be particularly little?

                        The day I'll consider justice blind is the day that a rape defendant's claim of "She consented to the sex" is treated by the same legal standards as a robbery defendant's claim of "He consented to give me the money": as an affirmative defense.

                        by Rei on Wed Jun 18, 2014 at 01:39:02 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                •  There are much better way to store (0+ / 0-)

                  electricity.
                  Mass arrays of car battery is not likely to be one.
                  There are liquid metal battery that might work better (for one, much more resilient to heat resulting from deep-power cycling).
                  Or hydro-electric storage.
                  Or underground compressed air.

            •  Right. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              koseighty

              The solar freaking roadways themselves aren't going to produce the electricity to heat the tiles to melt the snow because they are covered in snow and they couldn't possibly produce enough electricity to melt the snow anyway.  So you need an alternative source of energy to melt the snow so the roads can go back to being roads and go back to not producing that much electricity

      •  worse, ice will destroy these. (7+ / 0-)

        a little freeze thaw and boom, they explode

    •  Sounds familiar (13+ / 0-)

      The idea that engineering issues are the barrier to this idea gaining momentum is extremely short sighted as opposed to even some of the other arguments made against it.

      Before the industrial age we would never have imagined beaming information to a satellite located in space, beaming it back down to another point on Earth, and reassembling that information to be readable by someone on the other side of the world in seconds.  There are too many such examples that show that what might seem like science fiction is often more than feasible.  The difference with this project, as opposed to many others, is that is it not even as outlandish as what we've accomplished as a society so far.  These accomplishments were often met with extremely heavy criticism, and, in fact, were criticized by the same people who went on to rely on that very technology.

      This video has been cited to me more times than I can count.  While it makes some reasonable points, the vast majority of the points being made are drawn by such blatant logical fallacy that it is difficult not to question it's motives to begin with.  Why it was made isn't the issue, but the content of his premises are often easily refuted, and the rest simply haven't been tested for.  While the energy needed to melt snow on impact, especially in northern states is significant, the energy generated by the project is equally significant.

      Until the tests are done at the end of July, we won't have solid numbers on any of these technical hurdles the project would need to overcome.  However, choosing to believe one source claiming snow cannot be melted, and furthermore that this cannot be overcome through engineering and proper scientific application is retreating into an attitude that hampers our society's willingness to innovate.

      •  the math was very clear for info tech. (4+ / 0-)

        reduced power, smaller feature size,

        those were clearly compounding.

        this one is just silly

      •  Unless you *are* an engineer (3+ / 0-)

        you may be far too quick in hand-waving away the engineering issues. The differences between our knowledge of the material world today, vs. our knowledge 150 years ago, are huge. But expecting that we'll continue to make progress at a comparable rate may be asking far too much of the universe, let alone your fellow human beings.

        Let us all have the strength to see the humanity in our enemies, and the courage to let them see the humanity in ourselves.

        by Nowhere Man on Mon Jun 16, 2014 at 08:54:28 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  There is a difference. (5+ / 0-)

          Tests and actual numbers regarding how well the improved prototype panels will work in practice won't come out for another month.

          There is a big difference between handwaving issues that have been proven with numbers to be an insurmountable obstacle, and simply being patient enough to make a determination based on facts.

          The entire piece is based on the premise that ideas like these are important for our society because they are the driving force that will move our civilization forward.  The problem is that some critics are dismissing the idea based purely on the fact that testing has yet to be completed; when indeed, testing is already scheduled.

          Rather than dismissing an idea outright based on theory-crafting, it is better to wait until hard facts come out.  Until then, there is nothing wrong with disbelief, but outright pessimism to the point where we say "this project will never work and should be scrapped" is jumping to a quick conclusion that is uninformed by the proper studies.

          •  Interesting (0+ / 0-)

            Interesting that the numbers will come out a month after the fundraising push.

            Not enough time to use the funds for new projects, new results.  But AFTER the money has been raised.

            Not inspiring confidence here.

            •  Then it seems (0+ / 0-)

              that in this case your argument is that, aside from the engineering issues which you claim are entirely insurmountable based on studies which have not yet even been completed, the two are simply in it for the money.

              If the world has turned you into such a cynic that you believe no one has good intentions, and everyone is in it for the money, honestly I can't blame you. There is a lot of bad in the world. However, not everyone has resigned to such a hopeless society. It's positive thinking and the ability to trust in others, to suspend disbelief until hard facts have come forward, that is going to move the world in a better direction than we have been moving for the last century.

            •  They probably need the money for further (0+ / 0-)

              prototyping.
              Besides, it's just $2 millions, we spend much more than that as a country on... just about anything else.

              If it doesn't pan out, fine, we learn something that doesn't work.

          •  What sorts of tests are you talking about? (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Choco8

            What sorts of numbers are we going to get?

            Because some of the numbers that have already come out -- e.g., the fact that the tiles can apparently handle a static load of 250,000 pounds, or that the surface provides 3x more traction than asphalt (a claim I'm quite skeptical about, but will accept as a given for the time being) -- these numbers are already being pointed to by SR fans as evidence, even proof, that the concept can work in practice. When in fact, as people here and elsewhere have demonstrated, those numbers really mean next to nothing.

            So, do you understand what kinds of tests are being run, and what data they will produce? Or are you taking it on faith that these tests will be sufficient?

            (Personally, I would love to live in a universe where this concept could work. I really would. But as long as money is a finite resource, it's essential to be able to distinguish more effective uses of money from less effective uses. And by all reasonable measures, this is not an effective use of money; not even close.)

            Let us all have the strength to see the humanity in our enemies, and the courage to let them see the humanity in ourselves.

            by Nowhere Man on Tue Jun 17, 2014 at 02:03:12 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  I (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Turn Left

          potential.

          I am frankly surprised that so many here are arguing the  downsides rather than seeing the opportunities.  I thought for a second I had mistakenly stepped into a Tea Party site.

      •  The "debunking" video is ridiculous (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Yomby, Volt3930, FreeWoman19, Turn Left

        It's hard to tell exactly where on the Stupid-Evil-Crazy Vortex its creators fall, but they and their fan base do seem to be both stupid and ignorant, or else they wouldn't keep stating that you can't see LEDs in direct sunlight, or that glass is softer than asphalt.

        Visit http://theuptake.org/ for Minnesota news as it happens.

        by Phoenix Woman on Mon Jun 16, 2014 at 10:06:43 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  You can't (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Choco8, koseighty, ColoTim

          You can see stoplights because they are pointed directly at you, and are covered with a hood (or set behind a grid of holes, as is the case with walk signs) to block direct sunlight.

          Glass isn't softer than bitumen, but it is a LOT softer than standard roadway asphalt, which has ROCKS incorporated into the material matrix.

          •  LED billboards can be seen from any angle in the (0+ / 0-)

            brightest sunlight. Giant LED screens in ball parks and stadiums are all the rage. Really, LED visibility just isn't a valid argument against Solar Roadways.

            •  LED Signs Suck LOTS of Power (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Nowhere Man, Choco8, UberFubarius
              LED visibility just isn't a valid argument against Solar Roadways.
              Is it possible?  Yes.

              Is it cost effective?

              Here's the energy used to run those wonderful ball park LED signs:

              Image and video hosting by TinyPic

              Basically, the problem is that a Solar Roadway with these LEDs will use MUCH more power than they generate.

              This is one of the basic reasons why people are calling these people's abilities into question -- they consistently ignore conservation of energy as well as the cost to run heaters and LEDs bright enough to be seen.

              More proof?  Head over to Solar Roadways FAQs where they "debunk" the idea that the LEDs won't be visible.

              What do they present?  Three photos: 1- an LED traffic light, 2- an LED billboard, 3- an artist rendition of LED billboards covering a building (that's right their third example isn't even real).

              Notice what's missing from the rebuttal?  A freakin' photo of their LEDs working in daylight!  That's all it would take.  One freakin' photo.  ALL the photos of their LED panels are taken indoors, in low light, and from above.  Not one photo in the sunlight from above or at the angle viewed by a car.

              •  Simplest solution, just don't use frigging LED. (0+ / 0-)

                Paint OVER the panels like you do on normal road. Will you lose some efficiency? Obviously, but it's likely to be better than trying to outshine the frigging sun itself.

                •  But Why Don't They Realize That (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Choco8, Nowhere Man

                  The (perhaps indirect) point is that if the folks creating these panels don't realize that, are they the people we want in charge of it?

                  They promise LED lights, road heating, and in road water treatment.

                  Are these the promises of rational engineers?

      •  "They said it couldn't be done." (5+ / 0-)

        Every great innovation is met with criticism, much of the band-wagon variety. The more dismissive the criticism, the more important it is to persevere.  Just keep in mind that no complex engineering feat can be realized without first being imagined in concept.

        That the concept might seem ridiculous to some puts it in the category of the electric light bulb.  Keep foremost in your mind the attitude of Thomas Alva Edison when he said "I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work."

        Same skepticism met wind power and solar power in general.
        Thank you for having the courage to champion a great idea in the face of inevitable criticism.

        Ted Cruz president? Pardon my Vietnamese, but Ngo Pho King Way.

        by ZedMont on Tue Jun 17, 2014 at 05:59:14 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Video is very slighted.... (7+ / 0-)

      The tiles he shows are test tiles built to test the idea, the final product will be near 100% covered in cells.

      Also the tiles are not using bottle glass, they are using a custom designed material that at best resembles glass.

      Third you don't need leds in every tile, long haul roadways(aka the vast majority of our roadways), can still use tinted lines and consume no power what so ever.

      forth, he doesn't compare existing street light electricity use, just pretends the leds power use is standalone in a vacuum i guess.

      the flat vs. moving panel argument is semi good, he exaggerates the differences.

      He uses ebay auction pricing for his leds, if you bought 15 trillion of the damn things the manufacturer would certainlly give you a discount based on the economies of scale. And you could buy them directly from the maker rather then from reseller that has a ton of middle man markup in them.

      •  What do you think would happen to the price... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Nowhere Man, koseighty

        when demand increases astronomically?  The original promotional video depicts a couple cheerfully shoveling a pile of mixed-color glass into a wheelbarrow.  LED's would have to be at a high enough density to be visible during the daylight and would have to run off some other power source at night.  You would still need streetlights.

        •  Hah.. (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ozsea1, Yomby, Volt3930

          do you even have the slightest clue how many LED's are made right now, they are in more places then you think, ohh and their manufacture process is pretty simple, end point delivery costs would not be substantially effected after industry scaled to meet demand, as plenty of makers would step up to get in on the quantity of demand, this would keep prices from raising to terribly much.

          And again, the vast majority of roadway is long haul, most of the interstate hiway system would not benefit from leds and as such would not need them. Painted or more likely for glass some sort of tinting lines would be enough.

          You would only need 3-5% of the led figures presented in the video, and the demand would be spread out over the number of years it would take to install and deploy such technology.

          The led cost argument is plain stupid ignorant silliness. You don't need 12 trillion, you need 600 billion, and that is spread out over 20 to 30 years or so(assuming this were made a national project), so 20 to 36 Billion LED's per year. Which sets us back a mere few billion per year, which is nothing in light of our current transportation spending.

          •  The stupid burns with this one. (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Choco8, koseighty

            You now seem to be basing your cost argument assessment only on the cost of the LEDs and not on the fact that you'd be replacing millions of miles of roadway with an essentially useless technology. Spreading it out over 20 or 30 years doesn't do any good as you'd have to spend much of that time replacing the damaged sections of roadways you've constructed from glass.

            •  Again its not glass (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Yomby

              Solar roadways uses a composite material. Not anything that resembles bottle glass.

              The strength and quality of glass depends on a number of factors, how its doped(see gorilla glass), The exact mixture of materials in it, you do understand that the bullet proof windows in Obama's limo are made from glass yes?,

              Hell my glasses are made from a process invented by Teflon and you couldn't scratch them with a brilo pad under the tire of a semi truck.

              Solar roadways uses a tempered glass process, And their are several ways they can make the glass even stronger should they choose to use them.

              •  Usually bullet proof windows are made of Lexan (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                koseighty, ColoTim

                which is not glass at all, but a polycarbonate resin plastic.

                Your "glasses" may also be made of Lexan. Mine are.

                Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

                by elfling on Tue Jun 17, 2014 at 12:50:38 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  Side car windows are made of tempered glass. (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                koseighty

                Once, in a pinch, I used a metal straight edge to scrape the ice off.  I can assure you metal can scratch tempered glass.  It doesn't matter anyway.  You could make the tiles out of unobtainium and it doesn't solve the problem that you are laying solar panels flat on the ground where they automatically lose efficiency.

                •  Btw, tempered glass is not designed to resist (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  koseighty, Choco8, billybush

                  scratching. They're designed to resist shattering.

                  Heck, you can scratch sheet metal easily. In fact, Iron and Aluminum are both softer than glass in terms of Moh's scale.

                  In short, material property matters. Tempered glass will likely be capable for holding up the weight of a truck, but it's still going to be scratched to hell and back.

    •  He Has Two Follow Up Videos (5+ / 0-)


      My own instinctive objection was to the idea that these things could generate much power because they'll get covered in oil and soot spat out by cars. The differential loading bit is pretty damning for any tile based road technology, too.

      I'm pretty much with Thunderf00t in that it would make far more sense to put the solar panels next to or over the roadways than under them.

    •  Way too early to dismiss this innovation. (5+ / 0-)

      From Solar Roadways' FAQs:

      We tested the heaters over the winter with a DC power supply that provided them with 72-watts. This was an overkill and made the surface warm to the touch on most winter days. We still need to experiment with different voltages at different temperatures, to determine the minimum amount of power required to keep the surface above freezing. Remember, they don't have to heat up to 85 degrees like the defroster wire in the windows of your car: they only have to keep the surface warm enough to prevent snow/ice accumulation (35 degrees?).

      The heaters will use more power than the panels can make at night or on overcast days, but keep in mind that the heaters will only be on when they are needed. It can be five below zero, but unless there is precipitation or snow drifts, there's no need to activate the heaters.

      It's important to note that most parts of the country don't have any snowfall during the winter, so heated roadways would not even be necessary in most places.

      If you're skeptical, I suggest you go read their entire FAQ section, where they tackle many questions and challenges such as yours.

      This invention (completely synthesized from existing technology) appears to have the potential to change dramatically how energy is generated in this country, even around the world. Its applications are many and practical. It's all there on their web site and videos.

      •  The average low where they're testing (4+ / 0-)

        Barely gets below 32 overnight (average at the coldest is +27 degrees), so they have to raise the temp of the road by a whopping 6 degrees - but only overnight. The temps on the coldest days average a bit above freezing.

        Electrical resistance heating is the least efficient use of electricity. The energy losses are staggering, and the larger the temperature differential you're trying to create, the worse the losses. Trying to raise the temperature of a -12 degree road to +33 degrees (a difference of 45 degrees, instead of 6) requires at least an order of magnitude more electricity.

        And that's assuming new minas calculation is correct (hint: it's not). Those calculations assume that 100% of the energy generated by the panels reaches the snow as heat and is not dissipated in any other direction. Unfortunately, the ground is an amazingly effective heat sink. Amazingly effective. Just ask your ever-cool basement walls. In order for the solar cells not to degrade to the point of uselessness in short order on a fairly typical spring day, they'd have to take advantage of that heat sink - since airflow is not available beneath the panels to keep the cells cool enough to work. This means you can't insulate beneath the surface.

        :::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::
        Can you help me make Green Planet Heroes happen?

        by radical simplicity on Mon Jun 16, 2014 at 07:56:42 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Sagle/Sandpoint, Idaho, barely gets below 32F? (0+ / 0-)

          Uh, no.

          Here is the Weather.com graph for Sandpoint, Idaho, showing average highs and lows per month:

          http://www.weather.com/...

          Average lows are well below freezing for five months out of the year, and average 22F for the three coldest of those months.

          Visit http://theuptake.org/ for Minnesota news as it happens.

          by Phoenix Woman on Mon Jun 16, 2014 at 09:21:31 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Average Highs (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            RosyFinch, Choco8, ColoTim

            All ABOVE freezing.

            This is not the case for a lot of the north.

            I lived in Denver years ago.  We got a lot of snow.  But we got a lot of sun and high day time temperatures.

            Now I live in the mountains and we get more snow, less sun, and nowhere near the daytime temps.

            Ain't gonna work here.  So when I drive out of the mountains on my studded snow tires and onto your glass road down on the plains -- what happens to your glass road then?

    •  A very thorough analysis (9+ / 0-)

      It's clear that the folks who came up with this idea do not live in a place with things like frost heaves. Where the road surface can heave upwards by several inches in random patches - think of it as inverse potholes: huge granite boulders deep beneath the road are forced upward by ice that forms as the ground freezes in the depths of winter. There is no glass of any kind, anywhere that can possibly withstand the kinds of forces we're talking about. Most road surfaces split a bit until the road sinks back down after spring thaw, then summer's heat (and a bit of tarry-goo sprayed by road crews) enable it to glue itself back together.

      They also do not live in an area where people drive on dirt or gravel roads, picking up fairly large pebbles in their treads, and end up jabbing them into the next paved road surface they find, until they eventually work loose. And don't even get me started on studded snow tires, which are absolutely necessary to make it to some locations (such as my house) in the winter - even if you have 4wd.

      And I'm not sure how many people live in snowy areas, but it's not like snow storms swoop in, leave, and are followed immediately by the sunshine that would allow the road to try to melt itself. In addition, if you're driving at night, you're using the road when no melting is occurring. If you're in a snow storm in 5 below fahrenheit weather, there is little a heated road could do to keep the surface clear.

      I wrote a really, really long take-down of this idea - with bits like: all the north-facing slopes will get no sunlight, and thus no charge, and will be a net drain on energy, but can't figure out where I put it.

      The only people who believe in this are people who don't live off-grid with solar. If you've ever had to be aware of the balance of incoming vs outgoing power from your panels, you'd know how unworkable this is.

      In 30 years, when solar cells have had a few more decades of improvement, maybe this will be a viable idea. But even at that, it's probably cheaper, easier, and more efficient (in terms of energy gained for energy expended), to just put poles with panels along the roadways.

      :::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::
      Can you help me make Green Planet Heroes happen?

      by radical simplicity on Mon Jun 16, 2014 at 07:41:53 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yup (5+ / 0-)

        Glass is essentially a fairly soft, yet extremely brittle material.

        It's inherently unsuited for roadways that receive commercial traffic. That's just one of the myriad problem with this...as applied as some kind of national plan

        I am all for using this tech in lightly loaded "clean" areas, which is ultimately where it will end up. For roads in Northern climates?....not a chance.

        •  It could make sense for some parking lots (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Choco8, koseighty, Bruce Brown, EliseMattu

          And for some unused roads in the desert....

          It might be good for sidewalks with a south-facing slope - but then again, putting them on posts over the sidewalk would give (a) a better angle for more solar gain, (b) reduced wear and tear on the surface, which means better insolation, and (c) weather-protection benefit to pedestrians.

          :::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::
          Can you help me make Green Planet Heroes happen?

          by radical simplicity on Mon Jun 16, 2014 at 08:00:42 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Even if this idea only catches on for parking lots (7+ / 0-)

            it would still be an amazing innovation.

            I am also somewhat skeptical that it will ever catch on for most roads. But for parking lots, yes, and for some roads in specialized locations, maybe.

            The most serious problem in American politics today is that people with wrong ideas are uncompromising, and people with good ideas are submissive and unwilling to fight. Change that, and we might have a real democracy again.

            by Eric Stetson on Mon Jun 16, 2014 at 08:50:39 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Still better to cover the parking lots, I think (7+ / 0-)

              (1) shade makes parking lots way more useful for parking.
              (2) People rudely park their cars on parking lots during the day, blocking all the sun that was supposed to go to your solar  collectors.

              Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

              by elfling on Mon Jun 16, 2014 at 10:01:16 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  The parking spaces would be charging stations (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Bruce Brown

                for electric cars. The Solar Roadways technology has that built in for wireless charging. The areas where cars are not parked (the driveways within the parking lot as well as empty spaces) would be collecting solar energy.

                Solar canopies over parking lots are another option, but it might be more expensive to create raised structures like that.

                The most serious problem in American politics today is that people with wrong ideas are uncompromising, and people with good ideas are submissive and unwilling to fight. Change that, and we might have a real democracy again.

                by Eric Stetson on Mon Jun 16, 2014 at 10:58:11 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  I agree, for parking lot, it would be better to (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                koseighty, Choco8

                simply have covered parking lot. For many, many reasons.
                1. You don't need to go through the additional cost/engineering hurdle to make the solar panel resilient to loading.
                2. No car to "cover up" the solar panels.
                3. Keep the car cool, which is also a bonus for car.

        •  No, glass is NOT softer than asphalt (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Volt3930

          As this debunking of that silly anti-SR video shows:

          As you can see, asphalt has a hardness of 1.3, copper has a hardness of 3, iron and nickel have a hardness of 4, and steel falls between 4 and 4.5. As you get closer to diamond, you finally come to glass, which has a hardness of 5.5-6.0.

          So if anyone tries to tell you that glass is soft, just remind them that even simple window glass is harder than steel. By comparison, it's asphalt that is soft.

          One more thing: When you temper glass, it becomes 4-5 times stronger than the non-tempered glass listed in mohs hardness scale (it doesn't make it harder - just stronger). Bulletproof and bomb (blast) resistant glass is made with tempered glass.

          Solar Road Panels are also made of tempered glass.

          Visit http://theuptake.org/ for Minnesota news as it happens.

          by Phoenix Woman on Mon Jun 16, 2014 at 09:23:42 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Hardness is not necessarily an asset in this (4+ / 0-)

            application, because it goes with brittleness. The resilience of asphalt (or steel) is actively desirable when the ground moves and big trucks vibrate over it.

            When was the last time you saw someone spec a highway bridge out of glass? Think of what a gorgeous span you could create. And even buildings with lots of glass are supported by steel, not by glass.

            Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

            by elfling on Mon Jun 16, 2014 at 10:05:22 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Super Secret (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Choco8, radical simplicity

              You seem to be missing the point that they have a super secret type of glass made in their backyard from old coke bottles.

              Super secret formulas for super secret types of glass that you can make in your backyard are THE BEST!

              •  I'm sure they have a really interesting glass (5+ / 0-)

                with some potential. I'd like to see them build a bridge out of it - and I mean that quite sincerely - think how beautiful it would be. And there, the heating aspect could be worth doing (assuming that would actually work out) because of the way bridges freeze up before the rest of the road does in semi-mild climates where the air is frozen but the ground isn't.

                When you're building bridges, cost-effective is important but it's maybe a bit less important than when you're building thousands of miles of interstate.

                It sounds to me like they were funded via SBIR which tosses relatively small amounts of seed money out to see what grows. I doubt we'll be seeing hundreds of miles of solar roadways, but it would be great if they find something in their exploration that is commercially exploitable. That's the purpose of the program.

                Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

                by elfling on Mon Jun 16, 2014 at 10:58:27 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

        •  Soft is not an issue. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          koseighty

          Asphalt is soft, and we use it for road.
          The key issue, as you stated, is brittleness. Similar to railroad track, road surface MUST be flexible. Otherwise, repeated heavy loading will crack it. The hexagonal tiling may resolve some of that issue as long as each tile can "tilt" to some extend independent of the other tile.

      •  Except that "debunking" video is wrong (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Volt3930

        Glass isn't softer than asphalt, and the people behind that video are ignorant, liar, or ignorant liars.

        Here is the truth:

        As you can see, asphalt has a hardness of 1.3, copper has a hardness of 3, iron and nickel have a hardness of 4, and steel falls between 4 and 4.5. As you get closer to diamond, you finally come to glass, which has a hardness of 5.5-6.0.

        So if anyone tries to tell you that glass is soft, just remind them that even simple window glass is harder than steel. By comparison, it's asphalt that is soft.

        One more thing: When you temper glass, it becomes 4-5 times stronger than the non-tempered glass listed in mohs hardness scale (it doesn't make it harder - just stronger). Bulletproof and bomb (blast) resistant glass is made with tempered glass.

        Solar Road Panels are also made of tempered glass.

        Visit http://theuptake.org/ for Minnesota news as it happens.

        by Phoenix Woman on Mon Jun 16, 2014 at 09:26:08 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Glass is inflexible (7+ / 0-)

          A true test would be to piece of tempered glass on top of a rock the size of a peanut, and drive over it.

          Having lost my rear windshield to a small plastic object caught between my trunk lid and the windshield, I can tell you exactly what it will sound like as the glass separates into several hundred tiny little pieces (think platic potato chip bag being crinkled, but with the volume turned up to 11.

          Glass cannot flex in response to insults from hard (even not so hard) objects. Tempered glass is specifically designed to crumble in response - to protect people from body-impaling shards. This is good for public safety, but means tempered glass actually breaks more easily in response to certain types of damage.

          :::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::
          Can you help me make Green Planet Heroes happen?

          by radical simplicity on Tue Jun 17, 2014 at 04:23:38 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  But glass isn't harder than ROCK (5+ / 0-)

          ...which is incorporated into asphalt in paving. They're comparing glass to bitumen, which is the chemical that binds what we normally refer to as asphalt together. When a road is paved with "asphalt" it's actually bitumen binding together with rocks, which are MUCH harder than glass.

          Tempered glass is even worse - even though it's stronger, it's MUCH easier to SHATTER.

      •  "You can't see LEDs in direct sunlight": WRONG (0+ / 0-)

        As noted here, we look at LED-lit signs in the daytime every single day:

        http://solarroadways.com/...

        Visit http://theuptake.org/ for Minnesota news as it happens.

        by Phoenix Woman on Mon Jun 16, 2014 at 10:09:04 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Actually the guy in the video had me (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        koseighty, Choco8

        Again and again, until he came out against highways made out of chocolate.

        Now there is an idea half of us here in the USA could get behind (Or above, as we swooped down to lick up the YUM!)

    •  That "debunking" video has been debunked (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Terre, Little Lulu, Yomby, Volt3930

      http://solarroadways.com/...

      (And no, glass is not "softer" than asphalt.)

      Visit http://theuptake.org/ for Minnesota news as it happens.

      by Phoenix Woman on Mon Jun 16, 2014 at 08:50:58 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Regarding the glass softer than asphalt. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        koseighty, Choco8

        1. The confusion in the video is that when he's referring to asphalt, he's refer to what we normally refers to as asphalt road, which is technically something called asphalt concrete, a combination of asphalt (the binder) and rocks (aggregates). It's the rock in the asphalt concrete that's harder than glass.
        2. Asphalt road don't need to maintain transparency, so even if you "scratch" it to hell and back... it still doesn't effect its performance of being a drive-able surface. Solar roadway needs to have a surface that's resistance to scratching in order to maintain its solar panel efficiency (normal road way doesn't have that requirement).
        3. The biggest issue with glass is that it's brittle (cannot bend under load) unlike asphalt (the binder). Although this may be what it's designed in hexagonal section. With each section being able to "pivot" to avoid bending stress on the glass surface.

        I would argue that instead of LED, just keep it solar panel only and paint the road marking over it + auto-reflector. The small reduction in efficiency will be vastly offset by saving in LED cost and energy usage.

    •  What a crazy idea! (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Volt3930, FreeWoman19

      Replacing crumbling asphalt with solar panels?? Driving around on a huge power plant??? PFFFT!

      And what about all the asphalt companies that would go out of business?

      Almost every great idea starts out seeming crazy. The Earth isn't flat?? A carriage can move without horses??

      Maybe this wouldn't work in blizzard territory. How about giving it a test drive on southern roads as their asphalt starts to crumble?

      Fred Upton, Chairman, House Energy Committee: Stop pushing dirty energy, stop blocking clean-energy initiatives. Help lead the transition or retire.

      by Bruce Brown on Tue Jun 17, 2014 at 06:57:01 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Most people don't know this, and (0+ / 0-)

        it makes your fighting to get rid of asphalt all the  more important - asphalt uses oil production  by-products as part of its ingredients, so when a road is made out of asphalt, it is helping to prop up the fossil fuel industry.

  •  well done! (6+ / 0-)

    you pretty much nailed it.

    Be the change that you want to see in the world

    by New Minas on Mon Jun 16, 2014 at 03:37:12 PM PDT

  •  Please correct your next-to-last link (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Louisiana 1976, Yomby, Terre, keyscritter

    which is to your earlier cite from the NRDC rather than the article you have listed. The first NRDC link is fine.

  •  Lots of comments in an earlier diary (13+ / 0-)

    http://www.dailykos.com/...

    that discuss some of the issues in more detail.

    For me, the issue comes down to the fact that it's cheaper and easier to build solar rooftops. We should do that first. There is no shortage of rooftop space available, and we have all the tools we need to do it.

    The engineering difficulties are larger than is obvious (it's not dead weight but vibration and other dynamic loading that is the issue) and there are simple pragmatic issues like that many roads are shaded by terrain or vegetation from the south.

    Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

    by elfling on Mon Jun 16, 2014 at 04:25:23 PM PDT

    •  more importantly (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Bruce Brown

      it would be a public works project that would supplant non-fossil fuel energy sources.

      Be the change that you want to see in the world

      by New Minas on Mon Jun 16, 2014 at 04:33:10 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  solar roofs and solar roadsides (6+ / 0-)

      if we need power along the road, throw a few
      panels on the shoulders.

      http://www.bostonglobe.com/...

      like this.

    •  Rooftops aren't a bad idea! (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Terre, Egalitare, Bruce Brown

      If I were posed the question "Should we use the rooftop space we have available to generate solar energy?" I would certainly say yes.

      The issue I have with the argument that this is an alternative to the idea of solar roadways is surface area.  Yes, there is a lot of roof space in the U.S.  If you consider the amount of high-rise buildings in densely populated areas, it's not difficult to see why many of those buildings don't have enough roof space to be self-sufficient through the energy they would provide.  It is also argued that parking lot space could be used as well to provide shaded parking lots that generate energy.  This is also a great idea, but doesn't appear immediately practical as an alternative when considering the amount of pay-to-park buildings in more populated cities that simply don't have the wide parking lot surface area available to introduce solar panels to.

      The purpose of the piece is certainly not to credit the project with any achievements that it has not accomplished; in fact, this and many other projects will all inevitably start with engineering difficulties and further pitfalls that aren't immediately apparent through simple theory crafting.  Tests may indeed prove there are more hurdles to overcome then we previously believed, but in the interest of advancing our society this should never be a reason to dismiss any idea, particularly one that has potentially enormous benefits.

      •  Anything that people drive on (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        koseighty, Choco8, Nowhere Man, ColoTim

        is a hugely challenging surface. It's not just a heavy truck but lots of heavy trucks day after day vibrating up and down while rocks are between your roadway surface and the truck tires, and while the ground underneath the roadway slumps every so slightly causing fractures across whole lanes.

        One of my most memorable lessons working on the space program was that sending a spacecraft to Florida in a truck was a lot more damaging to it than strapping it to a ginormous rocket and launching it.

        Dumb things, like tires melt a little on your road surface and leave a layer of rubber that blocks the sun. Or scratches.

        I think for the social side, ask why we have a perfect south facing roof at our local elementary school with no panels on it. (Keep in mind that the superintendent and school board would enthusiastically like to do so.) Understanding how that problem is solved with social engineering is perhaps more important than some of the technical issues in getting stuff actually implemented.

        Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

        by elfling on Mon Jun 16, 2014 at 05:54:45 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Go read the Solar Roadways FAQ (0+ / 0-)

          Which is here: http://solarroadways.com/...

          And their numbers page: http://solarroadways.com/...

          And their Indiegogo page, too.

          And their answer to that ridiculous "debunking" video that claims, among other things, that glass is softer than asphalt.  

          Literally all honest (and a few dishonest) questions that anyone can dream up have already been answered.

          Visit http://theuptake.org/ for Minnesota news as it happens.

          by Phoenix Woman on Mon Jun 16, 2014 at 09:33:13 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I've been an engineer (6+ / 0-)

            so I am well experienced with the pitfalls of cool idea meets prototype meets production. I've written and executed SBIR grants. It's a cool concept and audacious. They are overselling what they have, though, if you believe that this is ready for prime time.

            This here:

            Wouldn't it make more sense to just build canopies over the roads to hold the solar panels? That way, we wouldn't have to be able to drive on them?

            No. It would be incredibly expensive as you would still have to pay for our current road systems. We plan to use the money already budgeted for roads for the replacement Solar Roadways. If we still had to build current roads plus pay for the canopies, the cost would likely be so high that taxes would have to be raised to cover it. [...]

            isn't an answer. It's indeed perfectly plausible and even likely that conventional road + cover is the same price or less than their solar road.

            They also blithely predict that we'll change all our power over to DC because of solar roads. If it ain't happening from rooftop solar, I'm not seeing it happening from solar roads, which require that electricity move long distances.

            Finally, this suggests a deep misunderstanding of the loads roads encounter:

            How much weight can these panels support? Semi-trucks get pretty heavy!

            Originally, we were designing toward 80,000 pounds. That was supposed to be the maximum legal limit for a semi-truck. However, we live in logging country and a former logging truck driver informed us that they don't have scales in the woods and that he'd topped out at 124,000 pounds. So we decided that we should go for 150,000 pounds. We then learned that oil companies can get permission to move refinery equipment up to 230,000 pounds on frozen roads, so we decided to shoot for 250,000 pounds.

            The force of vehicles on a road isn't a static thing sitting with 250,000 lbs on a few square inches of tire contact. It's a bouncing, rumbling, unpredictable dynamic load, setting off vibrations into your road and feeding back, possibly amplified, the vibrations that go back into the truck. Now, add in some wet soil beneath and the road suddenly doesn't have the support it needs below. You can get massive fractures this way unless your surface is quite ductile.

            IE: that 80,000 lb truck motoring down the road at 75 mph,  (and yes, I have heard of speed limits) is going to be way harder on a road than a static 250,000 lb load. It's also chaotic. It's not so much a question of if as when and how often.

            Here on the north coast, even without vehicles of that mass, we have roads that turn wavy - despite state of the art engineering - after only a few years. Geology is not necessarily your friend.

            It takes a lot of engineering to handle these extra loads... which brings me back to all the other places just dying for solar panels that don't have them.

            Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

            by elfling on Mon Jun 16, 2014 at 10:26:27 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  Give me just 20% of the money (5+ / 0-)

        that would be spent on solar roadways, and I'll solve at least as many problems via different solutions. Give me half the money, and I'll solve a lot more than that.

        Let us all have the strength to see the humanity in our enemies, and the courage to let them see the humanity in ourselves.

        by Nowhere Man on Mon Jun 16, 2014 at 09:03:21 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Why not run copper pipes under the asphalt road (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    patbahn, koseighty

    Why go through the trouble of re-engineering a whole new type of road surface, with astronomical costs, when you could much more easily take advantage of the blistering hot asphalt, just by running copper pipes under the road surface and using it to heat water?

  •  Great article. Welcome to Daily Kos! (6+ / 0-)

    Since you're interested in innovative technologies in the solar industry, you might also be interested in the SolarCoin project: an economic incentive program based on the technology of Bitcoin which grants digital currency to generators of solar electricity at a rate of 1 SolarCoin per Megawatt-hour.

    Here are a couple of recent diaries on Daily Kos about it:

    How Green is Your Money? Uniting Economic Populists and Environmental Activists with SolarCoin

    SolarCoin: people powered solar incentive FTW

    Also, this diary which mentions SolarCoin as well as a few other solar philanthropy projects:

    Sun Money

    The most serious problem in American politics today is that people with wrong ideas are uncompromising, and people with good ideas are submissive and unwilling to fight. Change that, and we might have a real democracy again.

    by Eric Stetson on Mon Jun 16, 2014 at 04:54:56 PM PDT

    •  Thanks! Will certainly read! (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Terre, Eric Stetson, jazzizbest

      I've heard of the SolarCoin project before but have yet to do some more in depth reading!

      Ideas like these are definitely the future.  Progress is always a struggle, but as technology advances clean energy will become more and more inevitable, and ideas like these will be their driving force.

      •  Feel free to ask me anything about it, (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Terre, Yomby, Bruce Brown

        as I'm on the Board of Governors of the SolarCoin Foundation. I'd be happy to talk with you by Kosmail, email, phone, whatever.

        I also am a big fan of the Solar Roadways project. I really hope these kind of outside-the-box projects to help the renewable energy economy and the environment catch on and succeed!

        The most serious problem in American politics today is that people with wrong ideas are uncompromising, and people with good ideas are submissive and unwilling to fight. Change that, and we might have a real democracy again.

        by Eric Stetson on Mon Jun 16, 2014 at 06:08:34 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  sorry,but this idea is BS. (5+ / 0-)

    it's a wonderful vision to get all excited about
    but it's just silly.

    If you want cheap solar, rooftop solar and solar parking
    lot covers are cheap and easy.

    if you want solar out in the field, do a few panels below
    streetlights.

    http://conservativenewjersey.com/...

    that's cheap and easy.

    •  personally, I think it's a scam. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      koseighty, Morgan in Austin

      Developers have already raised over $2 million from gullible do-gooders.

      •  This Was My Thought (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Choco8, Nowhere Man

        Internet donors aren't as picky as investors.  Investors like to see numbers, tests, estimates, pesky detail things.  

        The videos are trying to sell the idea, and that's not all bad.  But there is precious little information.  How long have they been collecting solar energy using the panels?  How much do they get?  How long does it take to melt 9 inches of snow off a panel using the heating elements? What's the breaking distance on the glass surface in an average car? etc.

      •  $2m does not go far (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        koseighty, patbahn, Nowhere Man

        when you are trying to do engineering with large prototypes, as this is. I hope that they'll do something interesting with it, even if I think that the project itself is not likely to be implementable or implemented.

        Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

        by elfling on Mon Jun 16, 2014 at 06:23:57 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  I don't think it's a scam, its more (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        koseighty, Choco8

        a husband and wife from Idaho who know more
        about Potato's then engineering dreaming up a concept.

        Look for 800K they did some amazing work, but
        the idea is just unsound.

        I don't doubt he's a creative engineer but,
        you'd be surprised the dumbass ideas people try
        out sometimes.

        •  They seem to be savvy enough... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          koseighty, Choco8

          to get their shills to promote their fundraising site on websites full of well-meaning dreamers.

        •  The FHWA wouldn't have given them $ (0+ / 0-)

          If their idea wasn't worth a try.

          Do you know how hard it is to get sizable government grants nowadays for anything other than killing people?

          Yet the DoT's Federal Highway Administration ponied up two big R&D grants that made their working prototype possible.

          Visit http://theuptake.org/ for Minnesota news as it happens.

          by Phoenix Woman on Mon Jun 16, 2014 at 09:46:23 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I assume their grants were via SBIR (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            koseighty, Nowhere Man, Choco8, EliseMattu

            Small Business Innovation Research - which is a very cool program and absolutely is intended for far out and highly speculative ideas. They are usually phase 1 and phase 2 and then you have to go find your own money, as they are now.

            It's a great program and I've written and performed grants for it as well as done peer review. There's a lot of neat ideas in here and I would have recommended funding it through those phases, but there's an enormous cavern still to go and best case scenario decades of work before you'd roll this out in any large scale.

            Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

            by elfling on Mon Jun 16, 2014 at 10:35:32 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  it's one grant. (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Choco8, koseighty

            a 200K phase I and 600K phase 2.

            they did an amazing amount of work for that,
            but it's a bad idea and that's why FHWA dropped it

            •  Actually, if it's an SBIR (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              koseighty, ColoTim, Nowhere Man

              then Phase 1 and Phase 2 are all the funding there is. Phase 3 always requires funding from some other source, no matter how brilliant the idea is or how well it is working. The intent is to commercialize the process, and to provide seed money that will interest a partner in developing it into a ready-for-prime-time product.

              Sometimes it happens that there's enough work and progress off of the Phase 2 to get to some other government contract, but that's not terribly typical.

              Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

              by elfling on Tue Jun 17, 2014 at 12:56:48 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  Nothing wrong with funding far-fetched idea. (0+ / 0-)

            But one must be realistic at pointing out the enormous engineering hurdle they must overcome.

            Although in this case, their project appear to be fairly "scalable" in term of dropping features. For one, just forget about integrating LEDs. Having that many LEDs, most of which will NEVER turn on (on account that you want stable road marking, which means that day in and day out, it's the same set of LED being turned on), plus the electricity cost to run them, you might as well just use existing marking system and paint over them (whatever efficiency you lost in solar panel will be made up by the fact that you won't have to pay the cost of running and replacing LEDs).

            Glass scratching is another issue that may not be that bad. At worst, it cuts the panel efficiency near its EOL.

            Glass cracking MAY be the reason why they go with smaller module. If each module can pivot, then that will mean less "bending" stress on it, so less chance of it cracking (and make the road surface more flexible in nature). This WILL require them to engineer a interconnection between tiles that CAN withstand the bending stresses.

      •  Tell that to the Federal Highway Administration (0+ / 0-)

        Which has given the Brusaws nearly a million dollars in R&D money over the last few years.

        Are you saying you're smarter than the DoT's FHWA?

        Really?

        Read their FAQ, which is here: http://solarroadways.com/...

        Read their numbers page, which is here: http://solarroadways.com/...

        Read their Indiegogo page, too.

        And no, folks,  but glass is NOT softer than asphalt, no matter what dishonest videos targeting people who slept through their junior-high science classes claim.  

        Visit http://theuptake.org/ for Minnesota news as it happens.

        by Phoenix Woman on Mon Jun 16, 2014 at 09:43:55 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Yes (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          koseighty, rarely comments, ColoTim
          Are you saying you're smarter than the DoT's FHWA?

          Really?

          If they really gave money to this project, then:
          yes.
        •  I'd be happy to. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Choco8, koseighty

          It's sad that money is wasted in this fashion.  It makes Solyndra look like a great business deal.

          Asphalt is not harder than glass, but the aggregate mixed with asphalt to make roads is.  I'm sorry, but you've fallen victim to their scam.  Cut your losses and quit promoting their garbage.

          I don't need to look at their numbers, all I need to know is that they are proposing to lay solar panels flat on the ground, cover them with glass and have people drive on them.  Whatever technological challenges they have to make roads capable of withstanding years of traffic while still generating electricity are irrelevant. Their solar roadways can never be nearly as efficient as traditional solar panels mounted in the traditional way.  You may as well be advocating laying solar panels on the ocean floor.

  •  Some Kossacks are not from PDX (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Terre, Yomby, koseighty

    MHCC = Mount Hood Community College
    PSU = Portland State University

  •  Bit disappointed you didn't mention the dutch (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Yomby, koseighty, Terre, Bruce Brown, ColoTim

    There is a similar project in the Netherlands which seems to be rather more advanced - they are planning to actually install 100 yards of solar bicycle path this october.

    See http://www.solaroad.nl/... (web site)

    or http://vimeo.com/... (video).

    •  That's a much more sensible application (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      koseighty

      The notion that Solar Roadways is ready for a national roll-out, not so much.

      They really need to do more basic tests, in various climates and situations, to back up their claims.

      •  You're putting words in the Brusaws' mouths (0+ / 0-)

        They've never said that their product, as is, is "ready for a national roll-out".

        But you've had an irrational hate-on for them ever since people started talking about them, no matter how many times people tossed links with facts at you:

        https://www.facebook.com/...

        http://solarroadways.com/...

        http://solarroadways.com/...

        https://www.indiegogo.com/...

        http://solarroadways.com/...

        Visit http://theuptake.org/ for Minnesota news as it happens.

        by Phoenix Woman on Mon Jun 16, 2014 at 09:54:45 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Claims vs. Facts (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Choco8, EliseMattu

          I've seen a lot of links on this and precious few facts.

          Solar roadways are making claims, but presenting no evidence.

          I think it's a great idea.  I think that fact that the DoT money has stopped shows they've decided it's not ready for prime time.

          There are a lot of questions and no answers.  Just claims.  I don't count claims as answers.

          I have an invisible dragon I'm willing to sell you for a mere $2 million.  You'll love it.  Trust me.

          •  It's amazing to me that so-called progressives (0+ / 0-)

            can be just as blind to reality as the Repubs - when it suits their own preconceptions:

            "Solar Roadways are making claims, but presenting no evidence." Even though they have built a small prototype parking lot, and have repeatedly subjected their prototype solar cells to experts for various kinds of testing. All of this is available on their web site. Did you actually read it?

            A lot of us are simply asking that skeptics on this site keep an open mind rather than summarily rejecting what could turn out to be a transformational technology. Give it a chance, for Pete's sake.

            •  Why I Hate This Project (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Nowhere Man, Choco8

              As I stated on another thread on the Solar Roadways project:  I'm all for big, grand alternative energy projects.  Hell, raise the federal gas tax 50¢ a gallon and pay for some real research/installations.

              Why I'm against this one:

              The developers have show a remarkable disregard for the conservation of energy.  They completely misrepresent the energy needed to heat roads or provide LED lighting that can be seen at an angle and in daylight.  I've been researching this group and they've been shopping their ideas to investors for over 5 years with no takers.  They are offering a "solution" that costs an order of magnitude more than the current tech and returns less power.

              And that's fine.  Even research doomed to failure can add to our knowledge for the next project.

              But the publicity that this one is receiving will turn to a liability when it fails.  It will be grouped with Solyndra and used to show why alternative energy doesn't work and can't pay it's own way.

              Now contrast this to the Dutch solar roadway  project linked to elsewhere in the comments.  Same basic idea, but:

              No LED lights.  No heated roadway.  No built-in water treatment (WTF!?!).  

              Just honest research into ways to make this work.

              Without the hype.  If it bombs, it provides useful information.  They aren't promising to change everything.  They're just making progress in alternative energy.

              •  I agree with the LED and heated roadway. (0+ / 0-)

                Their idea is pretty good if they take out the LED and heater.
                Okay, maybe keep the header part in, but take out the LED. There's nothing to be gained that can't be more cheaply and efficiently replaced by painted stripes and reflectors.

              •  OK, I confess I'm not super familiar with their (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                koseighty

                background so I can't argue with your findings.

                Although I remain optimistic about their effort, I guess we'll just have to wait and see if it actually results in any significant usefulness.

                And I hope I didn't insult you - that was not my intent.

  •  Drive to the site, put out the cones, remove... (0+ / 0-)
    In 2010, the city of Tulsa, Oklahoma alone estimated the cost of temporary pothole repairs to be $3.00-$9.00 per pothole.
    And then you go on to say how using the easily replaceable panels will be cheaper.  Without some cost estimates, how do you know?

    Each panel has: microprocessor, LEDs, heating element, super special glass, some kind of wiring harness.

    So, if they are made in the millions, can you get the cost below $3 ea.?  Even then, my guess it's labor that takes up much of that $3 - 9.  And I would think labor cost will be the same or more as they are now.

    •  Maintenance cost is not project cost (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Terre, Phoenix Woman

      The purpose of that paragraph is certainly not to lead anyone into thinking that the project of creating a new roadway system is cheaper than the cost of maintaining our current roads.  However, your premise compares apples to oranges in a way that doesn't represent what it is we're paying for.

      The solar roadways will indeed cost more than asphalt; however, the comparison in that paragraph is maintenance vs. maintenance, not maintenance vs. total cost.  The idea of the project is that it is an investment that saves money over time, and one of the ways it does that is by lowing the cost of maintenance of roads which have already been reconstructed.

      This seems to be a fundamental misunderstanding surrounding the project; no one is claiming that asphalt is more expensive than a photovoltaic roadway.  The cost of asphalt will increase over time, and because of the economies of scaling, combined with additional research, the cost of panels will go down.  This isn't to say that the two prices will ever match, but when drawing a comparison we should compare equal parts; in this case, the maintenance of one type of road against the maintenance of another type of road.

      •  Promise the Moon (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Choco8, Nowhere Man, RosyFinch, ColoTim
        The idea of the project is that it is an investment that saves money over time, and one of the ways it does that is by lowing the cost of maintenance of roads which have already been reconstructed.
        I get that.  Yet there is absolutely no evidence that the panels will lower maintenance costs.

        The entire site from Solar Roadways is exactly like this, promising amazing things with no supportive information.

        They promise the panels will last longer than conventional roadways.  How do they know that?

        They promise they 15% efficiency on their panels.  How do we know that?  Especially given that the best existing panels barely achieve that -- panels pointing at the sun, not lying flat; and not being driven over by cars.

        They promise panels that can generate enough energy to heat the panels and keep the roads clear of ice and snow.  Yet, this is mathematically impossible.

        etc. etc.

        Promises without evidence is the theme of this venture.  

        •  Shoot for the Moon (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Terre, Phoenix Woman, Volt3930

          It seems then that your underlying objection with the project is that there are no studies to show that the numbers they have calculated are the numbers we would see in practice.  That without studies it is impossible to show that what they are promising would ever be possible.

          This is one of the most interesting arguments because it is inherently a double standard.  The same people who attempt to refute the practicality of the project by citing knowledge stemming from their own engineering expertise claim that others citing evidence that it is practical from an engineering standpoint have not cited appropriate evidence.

          In the end it is an argument between two groups of people: one who believe that they can create a product which, over time, can overcome the hurdles facing it, and another who believe that it simply cannot be done.

          The hard numbers will come out after the next study; indeed, the very evidence that everyone should in fact be looking for next will be tested for in July.  Until then, it is only an argument between pessimism that we cannot, in any large step, move away from our outdated non-renewable energy sources, and optimism in human ingenuity.

          •  That's not the argument, actually (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            koseighty, EliseMattu, pigpaste

            The issue is whether this particular application is both workable and and economically sound idea in relation to other possible wide-spread applications of solar tech.

            And it's the responsibility of the people selling the idea to do put the time, effort, and money into doing the research to prove that their idea is sound.

            They haven't done that yet.

            •  Nothing worth striving for is automatically (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Yomby, Phoenix Woman, Volt3930

              achieved overnight, nor should innovative ideas be summarily dismissed as non-workable.

              And it's the responsibility of the people selling the idea to do put the time, effort, and money into doing the research to prove that their idea is sound.

              They haven't done that yet.

              I say, give them a chance.

              "Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress Chris Christie. But I repeat myself." ~ Mark Twain, (with a twist) ;o)

              by Terre on Mon Jun 16, 2014 at 08:31:31 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  What if the same money (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                koseighty, EliseMattu

                could be put to far better uses?

                As I wrote in a different comment: Give me just 20% of the money that would be spent on solar roadways, and I'll solve at least as many problems via different solutions. Give me half the money, and I'll solve a lot more than that.

                I'm not promising to solve the same problems, but I do think I can solve problems at least as pressing as the ones solved by solar roadways; e.g., creating a widespread renewable energy infrastructure.

                Let us all have the strength to see the humanity in our enemies, and the courage to let them see the humanity in ourselves.

                by Nowhere Man on Mon Jun 16, 2014 at 09:16:57 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Then I say you should go for it (0+ / 0-)

                  Solar Roadways have presented an idea (as far as they've been able to) until further funding was needed.  So, they've solicited and received donations from supportive backers in a way that most hopeful start-ups would.

                  If you came up with an important idea (comparing apples to apples) that I could support and you needed donations to help you realize it - then count me in.

                  "Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress Chris Christie. But I repeat myself." ~ Mark Twain, (with a twist) ;o)

                  by Terre on Mon Jun 16, 2014 at 09:33:10 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  I'm not talking millions of dollars (3+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    koseighty, Terre, Choco8

                    Millions of dollars won't solve much of anything, really. I'm talking about the tens of trillions of dollars it would take to build out the solar roadways for real. I don't think that money will ever exist -- but if it does, it will be a huge opportunity wasted, because so much more can be done with far less.

                    Let us all have the strength to see the humanity in our enemies, and the courage to let them see the humanity in ourselves.

                    by Nowhere Man on Mon Jun 16, 2014 at 09:36:20 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  It doesn't have to be all done at once (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Volt3930

                      nor do I think it even could be.  Any application on this idea, even in small spurts would be a good start, and it wouldn't have to cost us our children's future.  In fact, it would save the future for them.

                      "Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress Chris Christie. But I repeat myself." ~ Mark Twain, (with a twist) ;o)

                      by Terre on Mon Jun 16, 2014 at 10:24:21 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Whether it's done all at once (3+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        Choco8, koseighty, pigpaste

                        or over a decade or two is beside the point. It's still likely to cost tens of trillions of dollars to convert our roads to solar. I don't believe, I know, that there are ways to use that money more effectively. Much more effectively.

                        Let us all have the strength to see the humanity in our enemies, and the courage to let them see the humanity in ourselves.

                        by Nowhere Man on Tue Jun 17, 2014 at 08:35:17 AM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  Technically, we're spending trillions of dollars (0+ / 0-)

                          over the years to maintain roadway. Nothing wrong with just replacing it with solar panel.

                          However, I would forego the LEDs and heater. Just keep it simple and have other lighting structure sitting on the side of the road, this way you can have.

  •  Wouldn't it make more sense... (5+ / 0-)

    to put solar panels on elevated platforms along the roadways where they can be mounted at the optimum angle and won't have cars driving on them?

  •  I remember when photovoltaic cells were in their (9+ / 0-)

    infancy too. This technology has promise and should be allowed to mature. There is no reason to stand in the way of developing this technology because there are other options. They are not necessarily mutually exclusive. We can have both solar roads and solar roof tops just like we can have wind, wave, geothermal and biomass energy systems too.

    I believe we should allow this to grow. It would probably be a good idea to start in southern climates first and move into northern colder areas after the technology matures enough to deal with those technical problems. At least, that's how I would do it.

    Really don't mind if you sit this one out. My words but a whisper -- your deafness a SHOUT. I may make you feel but I can't make you think..Jethro Tull

    by RMForbes on Mon Jun 16, 2014 at 06:29:03 PM PDT

    •  Yeah. All you have to do (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      koseighty, ColoTim

      is figure out a way to change the Earth's axis so that the sunlight fall vertically over most of North America all year.  This is like using cell phone technology to improve the transmission of telegrams.

      •  Or we could orient each cell so that the lens can (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Terre

        collect the most light possible. It's just like the very first PV cell I saw, it had a large plastic lens with a dozen or so bumps on the surface likely to help concentrate the light onto the PV wafer. These old PV cells have just as much resemblance to modern PV panels as the prototypes of this technology will resemble the systems being installed in a decade or even the first and second generation test systems. Yes, there are technological challenges with any new system but that doesn't mean we should walk away from it.    

        Really don't mind if you sit this one out. My words but a whisper -- your deafness a SHOUT. I may make you feel but I can't make you think..Jethro Tull

        by RMForbes on Mon Jun 16, 2014 at 09:34:09 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Before large-scale deployment.... (9+ / 0-)

        ....there would have to be small-scale and relatively cheap testing in the relevant environments. No one is asking for a few thousand miles of solar road to be blindly and irrevocably committed to by tomorrow morning. The developers claim to be able to meet all challenges. Time and testing will tell.

        This being the case, the level of malicious spite in some of the critics and the arrogance they display in dismissing it out of hand is difficult to account for. They are behaving like someone pissed in their Wheaties.

        This is the landscape that we understand, -
        And till the principle of things takes root,
        How shall examples move us from our calm?

        (Mary Oliver, "Beyond the Snow Belt.")

        by sagesource on Mon Jun 16, 2014 at 10:03:40 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  The spite comes from the fact that... (5+ / 0-)

          well-intentioned people are being taken advantage of and from the damage it may cause to a rapidly growing photo-voltaic industry.  There is simply no need for this.  No matter what challenges you've overcome you've taken the most advanced, most efficient photo-voltaic power cell and covered it with glass, laid it flat on the ground and you expect people to drive on it.  You have more than an engineering challenge here, you have a common sense problem.  Everything you've done makes them less efficient and more expensive than just mounting traditional pV cells the traditional way.

    •  It's being tested in northern Idaho (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      RMForbes

      If it can work there, it can work pretty much anywhere in the lower 48.

      Visit http://theuptake.org/ for Minnesota news as it happens.

      by Phoenix Woman on Mon Jun 16, 2014 at 10:00:20 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Asphalt absolutely sucks (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Terre, Bruce Brown, Volt3930

    Every aspect of it contributes to our greenhouse gas problem. It's basically "engineered" for short term failure and constant replacement, and just as no single snowflake is responsible for an avalanche, no single pothole "repair" (if one cak call it that) is responsible for road maintenance allocations being bled dry by a harsher than normal Winter. I don't know if SR can be a complete solution, but asphalt in most instances should be consigned to the Dustbin of History, and if SR succeeds only in getting more people to recognize that asphalt is a standard poker chip sized hole in the pocket holding a locality's road maintenance funds exclusively in dimes, it will have already have rendered a massive societal benefit.

    This concept has obvious immediate niche potential. Think every Theme Park, most Casinos and many shopping/entertainment venues. And that's enough to keep it on the table for further exploration.

    Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle. --Martin Luther King Jr.

    by Egalitare on Tue Jun 17, 2014 at 03:05:23 AM PDT

  •  Solar roadways would be good on the island of Oahu (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Bruce Brown, Volt3930

    There's so much pavement everywhere, it changes the microclimate.

    The Dutch kids' chorus Kinderen voor Kinderen wishes all the world's children freedom from hunger, ignorance, and war. ♥ ♥ ♥ Forget Neo — The One is Minori Urakawa

    by lotlizard on Tue Jun 17, 2014 at 07:23:00 AM PDT

  •  Great diary, thanks. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Yomby, Terre, Volt3930, FreeWoman19

    I'd love to see this idea get more traction, and I look forward to seeing more stuff by you.

    :)

    It's here they got the range/ and the machinery for change/ and it's here they got the spiritual thirst. --Leonard Cohen

    by karmsy on Tue Jun 17, 2014 at 08:36:20 AM PDT

  •  Cute idea but completely impractical (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    koseighty

    Aside from the astronomical costs, glass is extremely slippery especially when wet, so would be a rather dangerous road surface.  In addition, tire markings and wear and tear on the glass would soon significantly reduce their solar capture effectiveness, and would make them need to be replaced or cleaned relatively frequently.

    A much better solution in the shorter term is to utilize far more of the available roof space, especially on roofs of stores and business, which are also concentrated more where power is needed (with the obvious exception of driving).  If we can build sufficient power storage capacity and alternatives such as wind, geothermal, wave, etc. to handle solar downtime, we can get rid of coal and natural gas power plants, and provide capacity to charge electric vehicles cleanly.  

    Hopefully by the time all that is done, one of the promising battery technologies currently in development will be ready for primetime, and electric cars will have sufficient range and quick recharge capability that solarizing roads will not be necessary any more, and we can instead go with a more durable advanced material roadway surface that doesn't absorb heat like asphalt or generate cracks and potholes like concrete.

    Republican threats amount to destroying the present if we don't allow them to destroy the future too. -MinistryOfTruth, 1/1/2013

    by sleipner on Tue Jun 17, 2014 at 09:45:26 AM PDT

    •  All glass is not the same. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Yomby

      The type of glass proposed here is known as "traction glass" or "anti-slip glass". It already exists, is widely used, and provides a high-traction surface with good transparency. Glass does not "wear and tear", it's either in-tact or it's broken, and flat panels on the ground are surprisingly difficult to damage. Glass is also easy to clean, whether manually or naturally from rain, wind, etc.

      The point of solar roads is to get economies of scale. Putting down one square meter of road is the same as putting down the last, is the same as putting down the next. It's not nearly so for installing roof panels, there's a ton of overhead, each case is different, the house may need to be strengthened if it's not engineered for the panels to begin with, you have a bunch of grid endpoints instead of a single continuous line, etc. With the road, you have one entity giving approval, one bulk purchase of panels, and a continuous laying of them in an automated fashion. And beyond that, it's an "instead of", not an "in addition to". You lay it instead of laying a conventional road, versus installing panels on top of an existing roof.

      I'm not so sure that this tech will prove to ultimately be technologically viable. But I do want to see larger scale tests to see how well it goes, and I think a lot of the criticisms about it are often overstated
      or outright wrong.

      The day I'll consider justice blind is the day that a rape defendant's claim of "She consented to the sex" is treated by the same legal standards as a robbery defendant's claim of "He consented to give me the money": as an affirmative defense.

      by Rei on Tue Jun 17, 2014 at 07:49:58 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I am intrigued about all the ideas that are coming (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Egalitare, Yomby

    About. Each seems like every damn week, there are another four to five amazing ideas.

    And yes, usually each idea needs to be refined. But so what?

    Costs always fall, so that whatever expense totals are calculated would be obsolete in another 24 months or so.

    Thanks for everyone who joined in on this topic.

  •  The ideak purpose for now (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Yomby, Egalitare

    Isn't roadways, its driveways and patkinglots.  They are the first targets and have far more immediate direct benefits.  

    win there and then move on

    Gandhi's Seven Sins: Wealth without work; Pleasure without conscience; Knowledge without character; Commerce without morality; Science without humanity; Worship without sacrifice; Politics without principle
    Follow @tmservo433

    by Chris Reeves on Tue Jun 17, 2014 at 11:14:48 AM PDT

  •  Wouldn't there be a black market for these tiles? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    koseighty, Yomby

    Every frat house would have one they dug up late at night in a drunken revel, but thousands of them might disappear at the hands of thieves, just like copper wire. I suppose each one could have a GPS device, a security camera, and a fingerprint recognition system.

  •  A solution for keeping the panels clean (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ozsea1, koseighty, ColoTim, Yomby

    suggested on the SR website is this:

    Most roads with high speed vehicles keep themselves pretty clean, as most small particles are blown off by the passing vehicles, with the exception of spills from oil, transmission fluid etc. There is a very common natural element called titanium dioxide, which turns substances like oil and grease into a powder that would be blown off by wind or washed away by rain. It's currently used on building facades to keep them clean. Spraying a road surface with titanium dioxide or a similar coating may solve the problem.
    Isn't titanium dioxide white and highly reflective? It's used as a sunscreen. For the engineers out there, here's a question:

    Is spraying sunscreen on your solar panels going to keep them clean without reducing their efficiency?

  •  Recced and tipped this diary (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Terre, Yomby, Egalitare, FreeWoman19

    specifically to support differences of opinion.

    The rude-ass trollery is disgusting, however; and those shill little children need a time-out, asap.

    "As soon as the land of any country has all become private property, the landlords, like all other men, love to reap where they never sowed, and demand a rent even for its natural produce." - Adam Smith: The Wealth of Nations

    by ozsea1 on Tue Jun 17, 2014 at 12:00:14 PM PDT

    •  Thanks for the support! (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ozsea1, Terre

      I'm all difference of opinion.  No one should expect to write a piece about a topic that is fashionable to criticize and expect it not to come under scrutiny.

      No one is saying this project doesn't have significant hurdles to overcome.  The difference, though, between the constructive criticism of the project here and the blatant useless negativism is that one mindset says "Hey, this won't work for x and y reason.  Here's how we can maybe make it better" and the other says "Hey this idea won't work, let's scrap it and give up."

      I love to read opinions that differ from my own, it's a great way to learn; however, it's important to separate the constructive criticism from defeatist attitudes.

      •  Negativism is far from useless (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        koseighty, Choco8

        if it's well-founded. If you're going to invest huge gobs of resources in a project, you'd be wise to know if the project has a chance of succeeding. Otherwise, you've wasted money and brainpower that could have gone to other, more productive uses.

        Even in the best conceivable case that all technical challenges are met, there's still an absolutely huge economic challenge: If I remember right, the Brusaws themselves estimated that it would cost 30 trillion dollars to build out the solar roadways. That's Trillion. With a T. 2 to 3 times our country's current GDP.

        Do you have any idea what else could be done with that money?

        How many cars could be upgraded to hybrid, battery, or fuel cell technology?

        How many solar panels could be installed on rooftops?

        How many wind farms could be built?

        How much research could be funded in energy storage and efficiency?

        The answers to the above are: Pretty much all of them, and what do we do with the leftover trillions?

        Let us all have the strength to see the humanity in our enemies, and the courage to let them see the humanity in ourselves.

        by Nowhere Man on Tue Jun 17, 2014 at 03:12:25 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Negativism slouches to concern trollery (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Yomby

          Negativism is just another suspect and flawed tool in the debate.

          Difference of opinion was what I was talking about. I don't know why you chose conflate it.

          "As soon as the land of any country has all become private property, the landlords, like all other men, love to reap where they never sowed, and demand a rent even for its natural produce." - Adam Smith: The Wealth of Nations

          by ozsea1 on Tue Jun 17, 2014 at 06:13:36 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I was replying to Yomby, not to you (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Choco8, koseighty

            Yomby wrote:

            No one is saying this project doesn't have significant hurdles to overcome.  The difference, though, between the constructive criticism of the project here and the blatant useless negativism is that one mindset says "Hey, this won't work for x and y reason.  Here's how we can maybe make it better" and the other says "Hey this idea won't work, let's scrap it and give up."
            The fact is that the project won't work -- or if by some miracle it does work, it will still be an enormous waste of money compared to other things we could be doing. Yes, we should scrap it and give up. Having done that, we'll have freed up very valuable resources that could be used in other, more effective ways.

            It's never my intent to sound rude. It just seems to me that the laws of physics and economics weigh in heavily against this project. If saying that -- and explaining why -- is considered rude, then I'll wear that label.

            Let us all have the strength to see the humanity in our enemies, and the courage to let them see the humanity in ourselves.

            by Nowhere Man on Tue Jun 17, 2014 at 06:29:44 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  you don't know, I don't know (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Yomby
              The fact is that the project won't work -- or if by some miracle it does work, it will still be an enormous waste of money compared to other things we could be doing.
              You have no facts to offer. I'm relatively neutral, and will let FACTS speak for themselves.

              Your concern is noted.

              "As soon as the land of any country has all become private property, the landlords, like all other men, love to reap where they never sowed, and demand a rent even for its natural produce." - Adam Smith: The Wealth of Nations

              by ozsea1 on Tue Jun 17, 2014 at 09:54:56 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I have offered quite a few facts, actually (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Choco8, koseighty

                As have others on this diary that you seem to dismiss as concern trolls.

                Here is a partial summary of the facts that have been presented here:

                - Using electricity to clear snow off of roadways is grossly inefficient; plowing is a far more economical solution to clearing snow. Much of the heat generated by electrical resistance in a roadway will inevitably be lost to the ground, not directed towards melting snow. (This problem could be mitigated somewhat at the expense of not embedding LEDs in the roadways.)

                - Most roadways are not in good locations for generating solar power. Mountains, trees, and buildings, among other things, obstruct much of the sunlight that might otherwise reach the road surface.

                - Most roadways are not angled towards the sun. This further reduces the effectiveness of solar power generation via the road surface.

                - Siting solar panels in places where the sun shines without much obstruction, and where the panels can be angled towards the sun, is a much more effective use of those panels, and hence a much more effective use of money, labor, and materials.

                - The static load testing cited by the Brusaws is not very relevant to real-world conditions. Dynamic loads are chaotic, and the dynamic load generated by a truck is likely to stress the plates in a much different manner than the static weight that they tested with.

                - If the surface of the solar road tiles provides 3x the traction of asphalt (as claimed by someone in this diary), then cars will get much lower mileage driving over those solar roads as compared to asphalt.

                - If piezoelectric generation is added to the solar road tiles, it will reduce mileage still further. The net energy "gain" of piezoelectric generation will be negative when the effect on mileage is accounted for. TANSTAAFL.

                - Individual tiles placed together are very likely to be vulnerable to damage from freeze/thaw cycles as water seeps between them, as well as from frost heaves in very cold states. (It's hard enough keeping asphalt from being damaged by freeze/thaw cycles -- and asphalt is laid down as a solid sheet, not an array of tiles!)

                I'm sure that many more facts than these have been presented here; this is just off the top of my head.

                Let us all have the strength to see the humanity in our enemies, and the courage to let them see the humanity in ourselves.

                by Nowhere Man on Tue Jun 17, 2014 at 10:21:58 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  I've read the comments. thanks (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  FreeWoman19

                  I say build a test track and research further.  

                  The results should be very interesting and will provide the facts needed to proceed further, if at all.

                  "As soon as the land of any country has all become private property, the landlords, like all other men, love to reap where they never sowed, and demand a rent even for its natural produce." - Adam Smith: The Wealth of Nations

                  by ozsea1 on Wed Jun 18, 2014 at 02:36:40 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  I'm not going to stop anyone from doing that. (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Choco8, koseighty

                    Especially if it's built with private funds. But I'd urge you and everyone to ask some hard questions about the reports that come out: What did they test, and why? What didn't they test? What real-world conditions are not captured by these tests? How can we be sure that the results make valid predictions about real, long-term use of solar roads?

                    And, perhaps most importantly, considering the amounts of money, labor, and materials that will ultimately be involved: Are there more effective ways to improve the world?

                    Let us all have the strength to see the humanity in our enemies, and the courage to let them see the humanity in ourselves.

                    by Nowhere Man on Wed Jun 18, 2014 at 06:45:10 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

        •  Except we're not investing huge gobs of resources (0+ / 0-)

          immediately.
          Just a single digit million worth of dollars. And it is unlikely that we'll go full trillion dollar conversion immediately, it'll probably be in small increment. Convert some section of roadway into one, see how well it works. If it works, keep converting. If it doesn't work, fine, move onto the next idea.

          •  The question is (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            koseighty, Choco8

            can you reasonably expect that this will ever be cost-effective?

            Suppose I had a budget of ten trillion dollars to spend over the next decade to drastically reduce the USA's carbon footprint. I'd probably spend it on things like:

            - Upgrading every car to a hybrid, fuel cell, or all-electric vehicle

            - Insulating buildings

            - Converting lights to LEDs

            - Installing rooftop solar on every building that has an unobstructed sky

            - Mass transportation

            The exact mix I'd choose depends on the perceived cost/benefit of each choice. But ten trillion is a huge amount of money! I haven't fully costed it out, but I suspect ten billion would get me damned close to an "all of the above" for each of those items. But I expect it wouldn't provide more than a fraction of the cost needed to convert the entire country to SFR.

            Where would SFR fit into this list based on its cost/benefit ratio? Probably far, far below the worst performer currently on the list. There seems to be No Freaking Way that it could be otherwise. It's not an economical means of achieving anything.

            So, sure, build your test tracks. Have fun with that. But make sure the testing is realistic, and make sure you have some real sense of how much the costs would be over time to build out the SFR. Because if it comes anywhere close to being cost-competitive with the other solutions to global warming, it'll be a bloody miracle.

            Let us all have the strength to see the humanity in our enemies, and the courage to let them see the humanity in ourselves.

            by Nowhere Man on Wed Jun 18, 2014 at 02:51:32 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  So easy to test and see if it works or not. Maybe (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Choco8, koseighty

    a tweak or two to the design will be needed.  But what's wrong with implementing some test pilots?

Click here for the mobile view of the site