Solar Roadways - history, current activity, future plans! (2015)

by Robert Grothe,  solar portfolio manager - GoLocalSolar.net

March 19, 2015

Solar Roadways - History!

Scott and Julie are the co-inventors of Solar Roadways. Scott is an Electrical Engineer (MSEE) and Julie is a Counselor (MA LCPC LMFT). Scott has worked in the engineering field for over 25 years and his main fields of expertise are in hardware, firmware, and software. 

solar roadways ScotJulie on1stTestDriveway

Credit: Solar Roadways

For those who are new to this, here is their description of how they started this technology and how useful it can be:

We started working on our project in 2006. It’s been quite a journey taking our concept from a dream to where we are today, poised to become product ready and make the world a safer, greener place.

The implementation of our Solar Roadways project on a grand scale would change the world as we know it in significant ways. Imagine the possibilities of a post Solar Roadways world: Your home could be all or nearly off grid thanks to your solar driveway (which you no longer have to shovel or plow if you live in the north), patio, or walkways etc. When you leave home, you’ll be driving on Solar Roadways which are snow and ice free, pothole free, and the LEDs help you see the lines clearly and easily, especially at night when many people suffer night blindness.

solarroadwayStreet Sandpoint ID artistpic may2014

Artist’s rendition of downtown Sandpoint, Idaho – Home of Solar Roadways.

Graphic design by Sam Cornett. Credit: Solar Roadways

A study in the UK showed that LED markers on road lines reduced nighttime accidents by 70-percent. If there is danger ahead from a deer in the road or a sudden accident, the intelligent road can sense this and warn you to “Slow Down”. This will save the lives of countless animals and keep people safer too. 

If you go somewhere new, the intelligent road can direct you with an LED-lit arrow that you follow to your destination. If you have an EV, you can stop and charge at a solar parking lot while you work, shop or eat, using clean energy from the sun. Eventually, you’ll be able to charge while you drive via mutual induction panels. Solar Roadways will provide the infrastructure to make this possible.

solar roadways LEDs

Credit: Solar Roadways

Solar Roadways - Current Activities!

What’s been happening since we closed our original campaign?

Perks! We had over 48,000 donors – an Indiegogo record for that time. That equated to over 30,000 perks to process. Most of that was done by four generations of family members while Scott continued with the engineering work.

Paperwork! Due to the Indiegogo campaign, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) was nice enough to extend our Phase II SBIR contract final report deadline. We completed a successful construction and testing contract with the FHWA at the end of the year.

Renovation/moving – we wrapped up our original campaign in June. Soon after, we were hard at work searching for an economical and suitable building to purchase in Sandpoint, Idaho. Thanks to your generous donations, Solar Roadways was able to go from a “garage operation” to a more traditional business. Our “new” building needed work: we required both office space for engineers and shop space for manufacturing. We couldn’t find anything ideal, so we improvised and renovated an 18-year-old shop building to meet our needs.

 solarRoadway HQ sandpointID

Credit: Solar Roadways

What are the short term goals?

We have several potential public pilot projects shaping up in Sandpoint, Idaho. All are within ten minutes of our new building. The ones we can currently discuss are:

   – Amtrak train station platforms
   – Sandpoint Airport (parking areas and tarmac)
   – Sandpoint Welcome Center parking lot
   – Animal shelter parking lot
   – Sandpoint downtown city sidewalks

There are additional potential projects in the works, which we are not currently at liberty to discuss. Hint – many of them are extremely exciting and we can’t wait to share when we have permission!

Our intent is to install as many of these projects as possible later this year. We’ll monitor each of the installations and correct any glitches. Since we have already monitored our own prototype parking lot for four seasons, we don’t expect many problems, but these will be public installations, so we may have a new learning curve!

After we’re convinced that our panels are commercially ready, we’ll make them available to the world – if all goes according to plan, that should take place in 2016. The first product available will be for non-critical applications such as parking lots, driveways, bike paths, sidewalks, etc.

Robert's Sidebar Note: Solar Roadways has just reopened a permanent fundraiser campaign at invitation of Indiegogo InDemand staff for those that have been asking to donate but was not able to last summer. At the same website as last summer, and a few extra perks have been added to the donations which will be updated and changed from time to time. President O'bama mentioned entrepeneural inovators help make this country great in his State of the Union address last January of this year. (at the White House blog on the address they included slides of active projects and Solar Roadways was listed there) Solar Roadways also has links to a new video from Indiegogo Docs and Innovation World put out by Henry Ford Foundation and News feeds are popping up all over the place again. Go check out the new campaign and get involved!

Solar Roadways - Future Plans!

What are the long term goals?

While we’re supplying the non-critical application product, we’ll continue working with civil engineering labs to make the product ready for roads and highways. There are still several tests to be performed before we will be ready for our biggest challenge – highways: advanced loading, sound testing, shear testing, deflective testing, etc. Once all of these tests have been passed, we should be ready for the world’s roadways!

Solar Roadways is a modular paving system of solar panels that can withstand the heaviest of trucks (250,000 pounds). These Solar Road Panels can be installed on roads, parking lots, driveways, sidewalks, bike paths, playgrounds… literally any surface under the sun. They help pay for themselves primarily through the generation of electricity, which can power homes and businesses connected via driveways and parking lots.

A nationwide system could produce more clean renewable energy than a country uses as a whole. They have many other features as well, including: heating elements to stay snow/ice free, LEDs to make road lines and signage, and attached Cable Corridor to store and treat stormwater and provide a “home” for power and data cables. EVs will be able to charge with energy from the sun (instead of fossil fuels) from parking lots and driveways and after a roadway system is in place, mutual induction technology will allow for charging while driving.

 solar roadways test 01

 Credit: Solar Roadways

 

 

The world's first rechargeable solar battery runs on light and air
GEEK / By Laura Rosenfeld / October 3, 11:10 AM

Peanut butter and chocolate. Pam and Jim from The Office. Christmas and presents. We've seen many great combinations throughout history, and we now have one more to add to the list. Researchers at The Ohio State University have invented the world's first solar battery.
The researchers report that they have been able to combine a battery and a solar cell into one device. Their findings were published in the Oct. 3, 2014 issue of the journal Nature Communications.
solar panel mesh energyStorageOnCell

(Photo : Yiying Wu / The Ohio State University) Close-up of the solar battery's mesh panel.

The battery includes a mesh solar panel that allows air to enter. Then, a special process takes place where electrons are transferred between the solar panel and the battery's electrode. The battery uses light and oxygen to charge.

So why is this such a big deal? This new solar battery could make it more affordable for homeowners and businesses to use solar energy rather than less sustainable sources of power. Yiying Wu, a chemistry and biochemistry professor at Ohio State and one of the creators of the solar battery, said that the device could bring down costs by 25 percent. If solar power becomes less expensive to implement, this could make a lot of inroads for more widespread use of renewable energy.
"The state of the art is to use a solar panel to capture the light, and then use a cheap battery to store the energy," Wu said in a statement. "We've integrated both functions into one device. Any time you can do that, you reduce cost."
Solar panels currently get energy from the sun and convert it into electricity, energy which usually goes back into the grid and is exchanged for conventional forms of electricity, The Columbus Dispatch reported. This solar cell that stores its own power could help people live "off the grid" with energy from the solar panel directly powering their homes, businesses, cars or anything else that uses energy.
This new solar battery also solves some problems with solar energy efficiency. Normally, 80 percent of electrons from a solar cell make it to the battery, but with the conversion of light into electrons taking place inside the battery, nearly all of the electrons are saved. Wu and his team believe the solar battery will last as long as comparable rechargable batteries already in the market.
Wu and doctoral student Xiaodi Ren previously developed an air-powered battery that discharges potassium with oxygen called the KAir Battery. The device won $100,000 in 2014 from the U.S. Department of Energy, which also funded the research on the solar battery.
The patent on the solar battery is currently pending. The university intends to license the battery to industry.
Ah, solar power and batteries. What a great pair.

 

Solar Roadways
   Building A Better Electric Grid

by Robert Grothe, project director, GoLocalSolar - Tacoma WA

scott-panel-bigsolarroadway-introScott & Julie Brusaw, inventor/owner of Solar Roadways has a great way to power all of America's dreams, covering existing roadways, parking lots, and driveways with solar modules! A new environmentally safe way to provide electricity from sunlight, snow/ice removal with no harsh chemicals, sand or equipment, dynamic updates to parking lot signage, and traffic safety signs customized to each moving vehicle all using one clean modular designed solar roadway package. The great thing that makes this a unique roadway material is it pays for itself in only a few short years and starts generating dividends for it's investors from the surplus electrical energy it produces.  The electricity can be stored or grid-tied back into the existing local electrical grids and microgrid using this clean renewable energy source right in the communities it is generated saving energy costs and distribution loses. 

These can be used on the roadways between communities to power all the electrical vehicles traveling over it through induction charging and rest stop charging stations. Unlimited mileage electric cars come to mind, but with this much surplus electrical power available why stop there? When electric pick-ups, suv's, motor bikes, small trucks, semi-trucks, buses, motorhomes & rv's, moving vans, freight haulers, even electric trains come to mind. All powered by Solar Roadways!  Enough to build a new national electric utility smart grid and super electric freeway to supplement our existing ones. (and yes even power Elon Musk's idea of a Hyperloop maglev speed train that travels faster with more space and comfort than most jet planes) 

GE Electric - Focus Forward video, Solar Roadways  (April 2013)

Google - Solve for X video, Solar Roadways (May 2013) 

2013 Video Update - Scott & Julie have been working hard over the last two years to build a new patented and tested prism textured glass that is stronger than steel, clear enough to allow light to fall on the solar cells under it's hexagon surface and LED lights to shine for road markings and safety signage and give traction for vehicle tires that's better than asphalt even when wet. Scott has also added a heating component to the module for ice/snow removal that works better than expected. Two roadside vaults, one to carry the electric power and monitoring cables, the EV charging strips, and another that moves runoff water anywhere that's needed. Scott has literally been contacted by over half the countries of the world for various roadway projects they have in mind, all wanting to use his product(s). Scott in this video explains how all this works together for a better, cleaner, more environmentally friendly and safer national roadway, run-off water management, and electric grid/EV charging integrated system.

solar-roadways-firstParkingLot-outsideLab04012014

Solar Parking Lot demonstration completed using the hexigon glass you see above. 
Here's a more detailed article...

Solar Roadways is real (2014)
video has gone viral 17.4mil views and climbing
 
crowdsourcing $1,000,000 fundraiser! (twice now) 
(as of today they have raised $2mil, campaign closed)
The funds raised will be used to hire engineers and professionals
to work on streamlining the process and get the solar panels ready
for production. The campaign is closed.

 

Robert's Sidebar Note: Solar Roadways has just reopened a permanent fundraiser campaign at invitation of Indiegogo InDemand staff for those that have been asking to donate but was not able to last summer. At the same website as last summer, and a few extra perks have been added to the donations which will be updated and changed from time to time. President O'bama mentioned entrepeneural inovators help make this country great in his State of the Union address last January of this year. (at the White House blog on the address they included slides of active projects and Solar Roadways was listed there) Solar Roadways also has links to a new video from Indiegogo Docs and Innovation World put out by Henry Ford Foundation and News feeds are popping up all over the place again. Go check out the new campaign and get involved!solar-roadways-firstParkingLot-closeup-outsideLab04012014