Ice and snow-covered and pothole-scarred roads are just some of the dangers on the road, especially this time of year.
Imagine an end to all that but more. Like, roads that pay for themselves, keep themselves above freezing, and could even power our homes and businesses.
That’s a goal of Scott and Julie Brusaw. They’ve now dedicated the rest of their lives to getting new solar roadways off the ground, in a manner of speaking.
The Brusaws see a world “paved” with Solar Roadways. Scott Brusaw is a former electrical engineer who has worked around the globe. But he’s left that behind to get his startup into full production.
His Solar Roadways are actually a series of connected blocks. These blocks are loaded with LED lights and connected to each other and to a central system.
The blocks would replace the top layer of asphalt that’s commonly used on roadways. All lane markings and traffic instructions would be created using the lights inside. The Solar Roadway is even designed to stay above freezing, making it difficult for winter weather to accumulate.
The blocks, according to the Brusaws’ website, can withstand at least 250,000 pounds of pressure — meaning they could handle very large vehicles. They’ve also undergone a battery of civil engineering tests to ensure they can last over the long haul.
According to the Solar Roadways Indiegogo crowdfunding page, the product has already been met with critical acclaim and has received two rounds of funding from the Federal Highway Administration.
Here’s a video from the campaign that tries to explain a little better:
Oh, did we mention these roadways were solar?
Apart from the LED lights and durable surface, Solar Roadways are embedded with solar panels. So, if you should ever find yourself stuck in traffic along a road paved with these panels, rest assured that while the sun beats down on your vehicle, the roadway is collecting all those rays and processing them into electricity.
In addition to roads, Solar Roadways can be used in parking lots, in public parks in lieu of a basketball or tennis court. And — just like on the roads — the panels can be altered to display all sorts of markings. They can also be used in driveways and connected to a home or business that can use the solar energy their panels are producing.
The Solar Roadways project has already exceeded its Indiegogo fundraising goals. It’s raised $2,200,591 thus far. The company is set to work on its first major application of the technology when the panels are installed as a parking lot.
Despite the public support of the idea — as well as apparently having some government backing –at least one cynic is wary of the idea.
Joel Anderson, of Equities.com, questions the cost-effectiveness of the project and believes it won’t come to fruition, at least until the cost of solar panels drops more. He writes:
“A project like this would never, ever get funded. Ever. Or, at least, not until the technology is so advanced that a monkey could see the cost benefits to putting it in, and that’s probably not a serious possibility at any point before 2050.”
Image: Solar Roadways