This Instructable is a guide to help you get Solar Roadways™ installed in your area as soon as possible.
Solar Roadways is a Smart Highway technology currently being developed by Scott and Julie Brusaw. They have been awarded two grants from the Department of Transportation to develop two prototypes, one of which is pictured in the image above.
As stated in the Solar FREAKIN' Roadways! video above and in their FAQ on solarroadways.com, the panels and the channels that run along the solar roads are capable of:
- Quick Repair and Replacement (Less than an hour in comparison to days for Asphalt)
- Generating and Directing Electricity (and Capital)
- Melting Snow (Eliminates Salt and Sand on the Highway)
- Managing Storm Water
- Eliminating Cell Phone Dead Zones and Producing on Highway Wifi
- Warning of Damage to the Road, Accidents Ahead, or People and Animals on the Road.
- And much more.
To learn about an accident that could have been prevented by solar road's safety features watch the second video above, "We CAN have Safer Roads with Solar Roadways".
Step 1: Rumors and Lies
People have been circulating rumors and lies since the Solar FREAKIN' Roadways! Video surfaced on Youtube. To dispel the rumors that these are total bull crap, here are some more tidbits before we move on to the juicy stuff.
You can also find more information on the FAQ page.
- Glass is softer than Asphalt
On the Mohs scale for Material Hardness Talc is a 1 and Diamond (the hardest material) is 10. The hardness of Asphalt is 1-2 (which is why there are always potholes in the road). In contrast, Glass has a hardness of 4½-6½. (Source: http://www.tedpella.com/company_html/hardness.htm... according to their website, some glass can exceed 7 on the hardness scale.
In addition, the glass that will be used for the panels is Tempered. Much like windshield glass, if and when it does break, it breaks into small beads of glass with little or no sharp edges, making emergency procedures and services much safer.
By Comparison, Glass Buries Asphalt, never to surface again.
- Glass is slippery, there will be more accidents on roads made of this material
While glass is slippery, these panels are textured and have gaps between them. The textures and gaps provide channels which, much like that on the bottom of tires,create a path for water to escape through.This is why racers change to street tires at the first sign of rain, so that they can maintain constant traction on the roadway.
- You would have to rip up perfectly good roads and parking lots to install the system.
They have designed the system to use as much of the existing roadways and sidewalks as possible for the foundation of the roadway panels. Civil and structural engineers have encouraged this approach because it is more eco-friendly, something Scott and Julie really want in their design. Unfortunately, they will still have to carve out some sections of pavement to run cables and pipes through.
- What The Freak! What happens to us Boarders, Skaters, and Cyclists? We can't ride safely on that!
Scott and Julie anticipated this concern. They are designing glass covers with smaller texturing so that people can board or skate without any problem. This version would also be ideal for basketball, street hockey, four-square, hopscotch and many other hard surface sporting courts. They even rode a bike over top their road parking lot prototype and there was only a little more vibration than riding on normal pavement. (no pun intended there) It's also perfectly safe to walk on.
- How much weight can these panels support? Semi-trucks get pretty heavy!
- The original design was to support up to 80,000 lbs which is the legal semi-truck weight. However, they were informed that refineries can get permits to transport up to 230,000 lbs on frozen roads. As a result, the team aimed for 250,000 lbs. After a computer modeled weight load test on 3d Finite Element Method and real physical load testing at civil engineering labs have proven that they can handle the pressure.
There are several more lies in circulation and some of the answers can be found on their Clearing the Freakin' Air page.
Step 2: More Information
It's important to research things that you're getting yourself into. That way you don't trap yourself in a big mistake and you know best how to help out. To get more information you can go to many sites where you can learn more about the project. (It's even featured in the December 2014 issue of PopSci and in another issue of Popular Mechanics!)
There is a saying among Mormon Missionaries that goes along the lines of, "Would you go to Apple to ask about the intricate details of Microsoft products, or vice versa? Of course not! If you're going to ask someone, you would ask the company who probably knows more (the one who's products you are asking about). If you want to know what a Buddhist believes, ask a Buddhist. A Muslim's beliefs? Ask a Muslim. A Christian? Ask a Christian." The same principal applies here but you are still free to investigate the anti-solar roadways sites/videos if you wish.
- Their Website: http://www.solarroadways.com/
- FAQ: http://www.solarroadways.com/faq.shtml
- News: http://www.solarroadways.com/people.shtml
- Their Indiegogo Campaign: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/solar-roadways
- Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_Roadways
- GE Focus Forward's Documentary: http://focusforwardfilms.com/films/30/solar-roadways
- YERT's Video on Solar Roadways:
- TEDxSacramento's video:
- Electric Vehicles: http://www.solarroadways.com/vehicles.shtml
- Energy: http://www.solarroadways.com/energy.shtml
- Smart Grid: http://www.solarroadways.com/smart.shtml
- Oil Dependence: http://www.solarroadways.com/oil.shtml
and they have much more in the nav panel on the right of their website.
Step 3: Ways to Help
Although their Indiegogo campaign has already closed (at an impressive $2.2 Million), there are still many opportunities you have to help out, and they really need it to get it the rest of the way off the ground.
- First and foremost, tell your friends about Solar Roadways, and this Instructable. More people that read the truth and actual facts means more people who support the project and it's vision. You and your friends can even follow and share their progress on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.
- Second, go to your email, send a "Letter of Interest" (put that as the subject line) to firstname.lastname@example.org, and use letterhead if you are a business owner. Please limit emails to one page and any questions in the emails to her or Scott to one question per email. (They get swarmed with emails.)These Letters of Interest are collected and sent to the Federal Highway Administration because the FHA wants to know how interested the people are. The more letters they receive, the more attention they will receive from the government. You can also send Scott letters for technical questions and suggestions at email@example.com
- Third, Write your Government Leaders, use the attached letter to write your representatives, explaining your interest in the project. If you don't know who to write, email, or call, go here and punch in your zip code. Try stopping by your City Hall and try getting the city involved. The depiction above is that of what the City of Sandpoint, ID, one of the Cities which is supporting the project, will look like upon completion of a planned renovation.
- Fourth, Send your resume to Scott and Julie at firstname.lastname@example.org under the subject "RESUME." They are actively seeking the following positions which can fill up quickly if you are seen as a valuable asset:
- Electrical Engineer/IT - position filled
- Mechanical Engineer
- Civil/Structural Engineer
- Manufacturing Engineer (Production Specialist)
- Materials Engineer
- Environmental Engineer - position filled
- Chemical Engineer
- Power Engineer
- Graphic Artist/Web Developer - position filled
- Experience in solar, renewable energy, or hydrology is a bonus.
- They also need an experienced CFO.
- Fifth, if you can, volunteer your services to Solar Roadways. Any help they receive in and around your area will improve the chances of solar roads being placed in your neighborhood.
- Last but not least; you can always Donate to Solar Roadways. They can always use more funding as it will speed up the process of developing their first production model (and letting us know the cost for different projects). They accept Debit, Credit, PayPal, and even Check or Money Order at the link above or:
P.O. Box 293
Sagle, Idaho 83860
Step 4: Remember, the Future of the Rising Generation Is in Your Hands
Ultimately, completing this Instructable is your choice. You can choose the future of the world, everyone can.
I figured you would want to see the video again. :-)