Solar-powered roads: Coming to a highway near you?



    (CNN) -- As a kid growing up in the mid-1960s, Scott Brusaw would spend hours setting up miniature speedways on the living room carpet so that he could race his favorite slot cars up and down the electric tracks.

    "I thought that if they made real roads electric, then us kids could drive," recalls Brusaw, who grew to become an electrical engineer. "That thought stuck with me my entire life."
    Fast forward to mid-2000s, with the debate over global warming in full swing, Brusaw's wife Julie asked him whether he could build the electric roads he'd concocted as a child out of solar panels. Brusaw initially laughed off the idea -- but not for long.

    With an airplane's black box in mind, the couple started mulling over the possibility of creating a solar powered super-strong case that could house sensitive electronics. They explored the idea of embedding solar cells to store energy inside the case, LEDs to illuminate the road lines and heating elements to resist ice and snow -- soon after, the concept of Solar Roadways was born.

  • I love the idea of the solar powered road, I love the idea of how it connects together, I love how easy it is to fix. My problem with it is the cost. Mass producing 1,000 miles of road shouldn't cost as much as they're looking to sell it for. I mean a $1K donation currently gets you a 4" hexagonal piece of roadway. and a $10K donation gets you a 7" hexagonal piece..... AND ITS ONLY THE GLASS!!!

    There has to be a way to take this idea, and mass produce it for a couple bucks. Some sort of automated system for a huge chunk of it, and another chunk of new jobs state side would be marvelous.

  • Mass production will of course drive down costs. Their problem is they are still in R&D mode. That just costs money.

    The part I do not understand is why there has been so little backing from groups that support alternate energy.

  • We had a thread on this one yesterday 🙂

  • @JaredBusch Good question, does it tie into the power grid?

    Will these LED's create more light pollution though? I'm so fed up with lousy light pollution.

  • Yes. Will tie to the power grid.

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