WORLD’S FIRST SOLAR PATHWAY

The energy generated from the road is intended to be used to power things like street lights, traffic lights and households according to the company officials. “

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By Akatu Jackson

Netherland has launched the world’s first solar bike pathway which will soon be available for use in the Netherlands. This bike pathway is a 70-meter path of solar-powered roadway connecting the Amsterdam suburbs of Krommenie and Wormerveer and it was set to open to the public on 12th, November, 2014.

The road capable of turning sunlight energy into electricity thereby turning highways into power plants. The test route developed is 230-foot-long and was developed by the company Solar Road. Solar Road is a world first and has put the Netherlands on the map as a leader in sustainable innovation.

The pathway is made up of rows of crystalline silicon solar cells, which are embedded into the concrete of the path and covered with a thin layer of tempered glass. The road’s surface has been treated with a special non-adhesive layer, and the road itself is slightly tilted in a bid to keep dirt and dust from amassing and concealing the solar cells. The path cannot be adjusted with the position of the sun which means that this panels will produce about 30% less energy as compared to those placed on the roofs.

The road is however tilted slightly to enhance water run-off and to also achieve a better angle to the sun. Its inventors expect to generate more energy as the path is elongated to 100 meters.

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The energy generated from the road is intended to be used to power things like street lights, traffic lights and households according to the company officials. Testing is set to continue for three years enable further development of solar roads.

The new solar road, whose cost was €3m (AUD$4.3m), was made as the first phase in a project that the Netherland government anticipates will see the pathway being elongated to 100 meters by 2016. As part of the complimentary plans, the country aims to power everything from street lights to electric cars using these solar panels. Commuters and school children see this bike pathway as very useful and a cool part of their daily route, with almost 2,000 cyclists anticipated to use it on a typical day.

According to the company in charge, the challenge was producing energy generated slabs which are durable and ride able by many cyclists a day. It had to be made translucent for sunlight and dirt repellant. At the same time, the top layer had to be skid resistant and strong enough so as to realize a road surface that is safe.

It however remains to be seen how cyclist will react to the sunlight reflection on the surface.

 

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