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Solar roadway that generates heat, energy unveiled

Solar roadway that generates heat, energy unveiled

Posting in Energy

The future of America's roads, streets and highways may hold a solar roadway that can generate heat to melt snow and electricity to power vehicles.

The future of America's roads, streets and highways may hold a solar roadway that can generate heat to melt snow and electricity to power vehicles.

In what may be a prototype of an actual information superhighway, the Solar Roadway is made of a series of tough, glass-coated panels that use 6,192 light-emitting diodes each to illuminate themselves at night, generate electricity for vehicles, generate heat to melt ice and snow and carry within them cables for phone and Internet service.

Just how many panels would we need to replace all of America's roads? A little more than five billion.

One problem for the system: it's more expensive than oil-derived asphalt that's used on motorways today. However, its makers insist that it lasts three times as long as typical pavement.

The other? Funding. With just over $6 billion in the Highway Trust Fund as of last month, there's not much to go around.

Is the Solar Roadway the answer? I'm not so sure, but it's proof that there's a way to make our roads smarter.

[via Gizmodo]

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Andrew Nusca

Editor Emeritus

Andrew Nusca is editor of SmartPlanet and an associate editor for ZDNet. Previously, he worked at Money, Men's Vogue and Popular Mechanics magazines. He holds degrees from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and New York University. He is based in New York but resides in Philadelphia. Follow him on Twitter. Disclosure