Sunday, August 19, 2012
Although we have never thought that our roads could be turned into a great renewable energy resource, a few researchers are about to prove us not only that this thing can be done but also that it brings along a series of great advantages. You already know that asphalt absorbs a lot of heat during the day. A great thing is that this heat can be collected through some special systems and turned into energy. As the amount of heat can be increased with the help of specific highly conductive aggregates, such as quartzite, the special systems will produce a lot of energy.
Turning Roads into Reliable Sources of Energy: Is It Possible?
Definitely, using asphalt as source of energy is a brilliant idea. However, it is not sure whether this idea can actually be exploited or not. The researchers are trying to develop solar collectors, which must be placed under the asphalt that forms parking lots and roads. Obviously, we are going to have the most affordable sources of electricity if the researchers succeed to put this idea into practice. In order to understand the pros of turning asphalt roads into sources of energy, you should study the following paragraphs.
- This project focuses not only on collecting solar energy in form of heat from asphalt but also on developing the best material that can deliver more heat than the conventional alternatives. A really impressive thing about using asphalt in order to collect solar energy is that this material continues to stay hot during the night. This means that the solar energy, which comes from the sun in form of heat, can be collected day and night during the summer time. This technology is a lot different from the solar-electric cells not only as concept but also as practicality especially because it allows us to get solar energy even after sunset.
- Another great thing is that we already have asphalt on roads and parking slots. This means that we do not need to invest in additional land in order to create asphalt solar farms. As the investment will be minimum, the cost of energy coming from these sources is going to be much reduced.
- Another positive aspect about extracting heat from asphalt-paved roads is that this process can help our roads to cool down much faster than they would normally do. This can help us to minimize the “heat island” effect that is a common characteristic of all urban locations.
- And the last great thing is that the solar collectors, which we are going to use in order to extract heat from asphalt, will be invisible. This means that unlike the roof-top solar alternatives, this option is not going to have a negative impact on our surroundings and home settings.
All these are important advantages that this new technology will most probably bring along. In order to sustain their theories that relate to using asphalt as energy source, the researchers have conducted a series of different studies on multiple asphalt compositions. All these tests have shown already that using asphalt as energy collector could be put into practice once the entire system, including hot water flowing, is setup. In order to have an idea about the functional index of this system, you must know that the hot water heated by asphalt can be used as it is for heating homes and industrial buildings. Considering all these, we can definitely state that our salvation comes from underneath us.
Is the New Asphalt Road Technology Going to Affect Our Driving Experience?
This is a common question that any driver will most probably ask him or herself after reading or hearing about this new and really great technology. The systems, which are going to collect the heat, must be placed under the first layer of asphalt. This means that various routes and roads may be under reconstruction for a while. However, the road constructors can choose to install the heating collectors under asphalt when resurfacing the roads. These specialists will most probably find a way to install solar energy collectors under the asphalt without causing any traffic inconveniences. And even if we are going to face some traffic related issues, we will definitely get tremendous benefits from turning asphalt roads into a reliable renewable energy source.