Solar Roadways May Be The Future

Several brilliant scientific minds have been at work in recent years combining and utilizing technologies that can pave the way for an entirely new system of roads in the not so distant future. Because of the rapidly increasing costs of asphalt and the fact that it is produced using petroleum, many experts have concluded that making roads with asphalt is not a viable way of doing things in the long term.

Engineer Scott Brusaw, founder of the Idaho-based environmental company Solar Roadways, is currently hard at work perfecting a prototype panel that utilizes LED lighting to convey messages, recycled garbage for its foundation and specially treated glass as its surface. Inside the units are panels that can soak up the sun’s rays and turn it into energy. While Brusaw openly admits that he is doing nothing more than merging technologies that already exist in many other electronics, the work is tedious and time consuming.

Conceptually, the idea is genius and certainly has the capability to change the landscape of energy and traveling in the United States. "The roads are already collecting heat anyway. These things collect the power and store it," says Brusaw, a calm and thoughtful innovator. The goal is to eventually have an electronic and solar roadway in place that gathers energy from both the sun and kinetic motion of people and automobiles to power the grid that 99% of American homes are connected with.

What stands between concept and reality is the tinkering and ironing out of several specifics, such as how to hermetically seal the lights within the road and protect them from the elements while still placing them close enough to the surface to be seen by oncoming drivers.

Technology such as this would certainly improve the business of trucking and make truck driving jobs less dangerous. The surface of the glass roads will be much different than the surface of a typical window pane and it will be designed to handle the intense physical demands of fully-loaded 18-wheelers. Messages can be relayed to drowsy eyes by way of colored lights that appear on the road in front of the driver, essentially making them unable to miss. Trucking companies all across the nation are sure to embrace the benefits of this technology.

Realistically, it is going to be a monumental task to replace the nation's several thousand square miles of asphalt highways with solar roadways, from both a labor and monetary standpoint. Brusaw makes note of the fact that the road system in the United States is an antiquated one that has not been modified or improved in any significant way since the 1950s, and fundamental change to the structure of transportation certainly will not come without the blood, sweat and tears of powerful lobbyists. Even so, this technology is nothing short of amazing and its benefits to the Earth and the future of all of humankind cannot be overstated.