On The Road To A More Sustainable World

Environment 2014-07-24

As concerns over global warming have grown and supplies of fossil fuels have diminished, the media has increasingly been talking about ‘renewable energy’. More and more emphasis has been put on inventing technologies that are environmentally friendly and sustainable. These new technologies are powered by renewable energy sources such as wind power, solar power, geothermal and hydropower rather than relying on precious supplies of coal, oil and natural gas.


The thought that maybe one day, the need for fossil fuels could be completely eradicated, was hard to imagine a few decades ago. If you were to ask a person in the 1980s what they would expect the world to be like in 20 years, they would probably describe a scene from ‘Back To The Future’, with hover-boards, time machines and self-fitting jackets, and see it as a completely plausible idea. But mention farms dedicated to turbines instead of animals, and dams that can generate enough energy to power a city, and they would look at you as if you were a madman. This is how many people would feel today about entertaining the thought of a future without the need for coal and oil.

Sustainable Road


So just imagine the surprise of those sceptics as we move one step closer to this form of reality with the idea of roads, pavements, driveways, bike trails and even motorways made entirely out of solar panels. The panels use the heat of the sun to generate enough power to light up the road at night, transporting people safely from one destination to another. They can also melt away the perils of snow and ice and even display warning signs or traffic lines using their embedded LED lights, as well as charging electric vehicles that are in motion on them.


Electrical engineer and inventor of the hexagonal green road solar panels, Scott Brusaw is currently in the process of expanding his company, Solar Roadways, in order to make the idea a reality. This process of expansion was slow at first due to the lack of financial backing as many concerns were raised about the durability of the panels. These concerns were put to rest by the creation of a 108-panelled protocol car park at the company’s headquarters that showed the panels’ abilities to withstand a hefty weight of up to 250,000 pounds. Investors and donations eventually started to appear with the aid of crowd funding platform website ‘Indiegogo‘. Other helpful donation-draws were a Youtube video starring the panels that went viral, with over 14 million views, and mentions on various social media platforms, including mentions from celebrities such as George Takei from ‘Star Trek’. From this publicity, Solar Roadways received donations from over 45,000 people in 50 countries, which well and truly got the company on its feet and noticed.


We are due to hear more from Solar Roadways later on this month as they reach the end of their Phase II contract with Federal Highway Administration.


So, roll on Solar Roadways is what I say, paving the way to a cleaner, greener future! But what do you think? Tweet us @NotchCom


This week’s post was a special guest blog from Eve Blears at Altrincham Girls Grammar School.

Photo credit: http://www.solarroadways.com/intro.shtm