Tarmac 2.0 has just taken its first baby-step. The solar road technology that promises to produce clean electricity, replace power transmission and information infrastructure, requires no plowing and lights up to provide navigational and safety information is about to go from the drawing board to prototype production. The Department of Transport has seen fit to award the project $100,000 to construct the first 12′ by 12′ panel.
The panels that make up the road consists of three layers. The base contains power and data lines and is overlaid by the electronics strata that contains solar cells, LEDs and supercapacitors which would produce and store electricity while the LEDs would “paint” the surface with light. This layer also holds the microprocessors and communications device that would make highways “intelligent”. The top layer is made of glass that should supply the same traction as asphalt, is strong enough to handle whatever traffic can dish out and protect the electronic goodies below. Scott Brusaw, the guy who came up with the Solar Roadways idea, estimates that if every street, driveway and parking lot was replaced with his invention, it would supply three times as much electricity as was used in the U.S. in 2003. Hit the jump for a video of Scott explaining his idea as well as a brief press release.
[Source: Solar Roadways]