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Thread: Electric roads?

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    Electric roads?

    A friend keeps telling me how wonderful the idea is. While my mind embraces the technology, my gut says it's crazy. See what you think:

    http://www.wimp.com/solarhighways/


    The big thing that comes to mind is traction: how is glass supposed to grip the way concrete does when it's pouring rain, especially that first rain of the season when the surface has oils on it?

    "Thirty-one* states allow all qualified citizens to carry concealed weapons. In those states, homosexuals should embark on organized efforts to become comfortable with guns, learn to use them safely and carry them. They should set up Pink Pistols task forces, sponsor shooting courses and help homosexuals get licensed to carry. And they should do it in a way that gets as much publicity as possible. "

    --Jonathan Rauch, Salon Magazine, March 13, 2000

    *the number is now forty

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    Re: Electric roads?

    I think it would be worth funding a prototype roadway. A lot ideas sound crazy until they work. Many issues to solve such as how it works covered with a foot of snow and ice? But glass picks up heat, that might solve a winter problem too.

    But you know...it's a new idea and it's environmental...republicans will be against it.


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    Re: Electric roads?

    There is no possible way this is cost effective.

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    Re: Electric roads?

    ^ Agreed - the consumption of energy would be horrific. Or if energy is absorbed by some sort of solar panels, just the energy required to manufacture them would be horrific.

    Even worse, there would be a clamor for *every* road to be electric, even those which are now gravel or even dirt roads.
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    Re: Electric roads?

    Quote Originally Posted by bankside View Post
    There is no possible way this is cost effective.
    Depends on the electricity generated, I suppose. Concrete is cheaper, but in maintenance terms is a headache of crippling degree,

    One big question is how well it wears. Research by the California Highway Department showed that glass is more durable than the asphalt itself in the asphalt mix we use for paving, but that was a test with the glass in particle size, not sheets.

    I see it most useful for low-traffic side roads or streets between the pair of 40 parallels, parking lots, and the generally lightly-used top levels of parking garages. But just that much surface area would make a serious dent in the need for coal for electrical generation.

    That brings a different concept to mind: what if we put solar panels between the rails of all our railroads? Also, would this be good for bicycle paths, which aren't subject to the same levels of force?

    "Thirty-one* states allow all qualified citizens to carry concealed weapons. In those states, homosexuals should embark on organized efforts to become comfortable with guns, learn to use them safely and carry them. They should set up Pink Pistols task forces, sponsor shooting courses and help homosexuals get licensed to carry. And they should do it in a way that gets as much publicity as possible. "

    --Jonathan Rauch, Salon Magazine, March 13, 2000

    *the number is now forty

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    Re: Electric roads?


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    Re: Electric roads?

    Quote Originally Posted by bankside View Post
    Mild skeptics, it seems.

    After reading that and a pile of other material, I still think it would work best within 40 of the equator. I'm also thinking that putting solar canopies over parking areas would be more efficient for parking lots. Talking about doing highways with them is jumping ahead of the game, but if their figures are correct, a shopping mall with solar parking lots wouldn't need to buy power from the utilities, but could sell power.

    "Thirty-one* states allow all qualified citizens to carry concealed weapons. In those states, homosexuals should embark on organized efforts to become comfortable with guns, learn to use them safely and carry them. They should set up Pink Pistols task forces, sponsor shooting courses and help homosexuals get licensed to carry. And they should do it in a way that gets as much publicity as possible. "

    --Jonathan Rauch, Salon Magazine, March 13, 2000

    *the number is now forty

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    Re: Electric roads?

    giv reply burt classfied

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    Re: Electric roads?

    I've thought about this before, it would be cool.
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    Re: Electric roads?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kulindahr View Post
    Mild skeptics, it seems.

    After reading that and a pile of other material, I still think it would work best within 40 of the equator. I'm also thinking that putting solar canopies over parking areas would be more efficient for parking lots. Talking about doing highways with them is jumping ahead of the game, but if their figures are correct, a shopping mall with solar parking lots wouldn't need to buy power from the utilities, but could sell power.
    Fair observations on all points.

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    Re: Electric roads?

    ...though i think concentrated solar electric can be used at most any latitude, especially when the other alternative is expensive investments in extending the grid.

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    Re: Electric roads?

    It seems like a nice idea, but it's not at all practical. First is the extreme expense... and how long will they last? I can imagine them breaking down continuously. Not only that, I bet the traction would be atrocious in very cold weather.
    I'm sure they'd be fine in temperate climates, but what about places like Saskatchewan? It can get down to -40C in the winter... plus, what about all the dust and dirt that gets on the roads?

    A prototype road would be good for shits and giggles though... but not in a place like California. They should lay it down in an extreme climate, preferably on a very busy road.

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    Re: Electric roads?

    Quote Originally Posted by bankside View Post
    ...though i think concentrated solar electric can be used at most any latitude, especially when the other alternative is expensive investments in extending the grid.
    Concentrated . . . heck, just using aluminum foil to concentrate the sunlight I've set driftwood on fire at the beach -- though a letter-size magnifying lens is better; I can get instant flame with one of those.

    "Thirty-one* states allow all qualified citizens to carry concealed weapons. In those states, homosexuals should embark on organized efforts to become comfortable with guns, learn to use them safely and carry them. They should set up Pink Pistols task forces, sponsor shooting courses and help homosexuals get licensed to carry. And they should do it in a way that gets as much publicity as possible. "

    --Jonathan Rauch, Salon Magazine, March 13, 2000

    *the number is now forty

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    Re: Electric roads?

    Quote Originally Posted by SaskGuy View Post
    It seems like a nice idea, but it's not at all practical. First is the extreme expense... and how long will they last? I can imagine them breaking down continuously. Not only that, I bet the traction would be atrocious in very cold weather.
    I'm sure they'd be fine in temperate climates, but what about places like Saskatchewan? It can get down to -40C in the winter... plus, what about all the dust and dirt that gets on the roads?

    A prototype road would be good for shits and giggles though... but not in a place like California. They should lay it down in an extreme climate, preferably on a very busy road.
    I haven't been able to find details of how their hexagon units interconnect, and that's got to be a big aspect.

    But while hunting, I had another thought: what about airport runways? Those are monstrous, and depending on the winds can sit unoccupied for hours or even days.

    "Thirty-one* states allow all qualified citizens to carry concealed weapons. In those states, homosexuals should embark on organized efforts to become comfortable with guns, learn to use them safely and carry them. They should set up Pink Pistols task forces, sponsor shooting courses and help homosexuals get licensed to carry. And they should do it in a way that gets as much publicity as possible. "

    --Jonathan Rauch, Salon Magazine, March 13, 2000

    *the number is now forty

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