Melting Snow and Ice Through the Use of Solar Power

mountainside By mountainside, 19th Jan 2011 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>News>Environment

Experiments on a new concept are being performed to see if solar power is feasible to clean up ice and snow on the roadways.

Melting Snow and Ice With Solar Power on Highways

Removing ice and snow from the nation's highways and roads is very costly. The manpower, the equipment and the damage to the roads and highways takes a big toll on city and state budgets. Those cities and towns which see lots of snow and ice each winter season suffer the most. Winters throughout the country cost literally billions of dollars in snow removal and equipment as well as the money lost by many businesses.

According to CNN's Thom Patterson, reporting in Technology, there is a 53 year old electrical engineer from Sagle, Idaho, Scott Brusaw, who has received a $100,000 contract from the Federal Highway Administration to assist him with his development of a solar-powered roadway made from super strong glass, instead of the regular asphalt or concrete.

According to Mr. Brusaw by putting solar cells inside a glass surface, the roadway or highway would act as a giant solar-power generator, which would fuel the embedded heating elements eliminating the ice and snow from the roadway. This would make plowing and other snow and ice removal equipment totally unnecessary.

The heating element would act in the same way as a rear-window defroster in your car.
Mr. Brusaw will be experimenting with temperature settings during the next phase of the development procedure. Electricity generated by the highway could be used to recharge electric vehicles and to power street lights and LED warning signs along the roads according to Mr. Brusaw..

Mr. Brusaw believes that if the solar-powered roadways are widely accepted the changes could lead eventually to clean electricity being generated all around the world, which could eliminate the need for fossil fuel. Which could then in essence save the planet from global climate change. The one thing that Mr. Brusaw feels might be a hold-up is that people fear change and this would be a huge change but a beneficial one.

The Federal Highway Administration wants Mr. Brusaw to perfect his technology in parking lots first, to prove that it is workable. Mr. Brusaw thinks this makes good sense. He is hoping to partner with McDonald's or Walmart's to transition their parking lots into solar-powered areas. Those shoppers who drive electric vehicles would be able to recharge their cars while they shop.

The cost of one mile of highway would be 4.4 million dollars, which he says would pay for itself in energy production. Even in bumper to bumper traffic there would be a collection of 50% of solar power collected according to Mr. Brusaw. There was a question regarding traction on the super glass highway, with Mr. Brusaw stating that the super strong glass would provide the traction needed for vehicles. General Electric has a very strong interest in his concept. As early as this summer Mr. Brusaw will be testing his theory of the super glass road according to the article's report. If this theory works and is implemented it could bring about a major beneficial change during the winter seasons throughout the country and perhaps further.

Tags

Brusaw, Cities, Concept, Engineer, Highway, Ice, Power, Season, Snow, Solar, Winter

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author avatar mountainside
I am an artist, I paint abstract pictures and draw. I like to write, read and watch game shows. I like nice people and love to learn about diffeent cultures. Keeping an open mind is important to me.

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Comments

author avatar Jerry Walch
19th Jan 2011 (#)

Good idea but sounds very futuristic to me. I'm really interested in seeing where this concept goes.

Great article.

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author avatar mountainside
19th Jan 2011 (#)

..Hi Jerry, I was fascinated to read the article, cost seems extreme. But if you think about it, it would be as if we took our rear window defrosting mechanism and double whammy expanded it to the roads and drove on it. Hope it works. The strength of the glass would have to be tremendously strong just thinking about the wear and tear. Take it easy. Thanks.

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author avatar Jerry Walch
19th Jan 2011 (#)

The snow/ice melting part is probably feasible but the cost of producing solar cells is going to have drop drastically before that part becomes feasible on a large scale.

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author avatar mountainside
19th Jan 2011 (#)

Heyyy, I think you are right. The cost per mile threw me for a loop. Cheers.

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author avatar Denise O
20th Jan 2011 (#)

I don't blame ya mountain, it threw me also. I agree with Jerry, maybe down the road a bit. It is just too darn expensive though but, I like the concept. Good read.
Thank you for sharing.:)

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author avatar mountainside
20th Jan 2011 (#)

...Hi Denise, Can you imagine the many miles of highway at 4.4 million per mile, ouch!
Thanks for stopping by.

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author avatar Greenfaol
20th Jan 2011 (#)

Hi Mountain, agree with Jerry too. Also, how would you brake on glass?
Excellent article, hadn't heard of this, thanks for bringing it to uor attention :D

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author avatar mountainside
20th Jan 2011 (#)

.., Hi Greenfoal, The traction issue was addressed but not explained. Engineer says would not be a problem?? Thanks for stopping by. Take care.

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