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Thread: Solar Highways - Simple, cheaper, better, uses current technology

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    Solar Highways - Simple, cheaper, better, uses current technology

    A great, cheaper, better idea to replace asphalt.
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    saebrtooth (19.08.10) , Blocker (18.08.10) , slikrapid (18.08.10)

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    Solar Highways - Simple, cheaper, better, uses current technology
    thats their wishes, not (yet) reality

    on one hand its a clever idea to combine 3 things (kill 3 flies with one hit) together: production of electricity, waste disposal & road building (substituting asphalt), but it may be more than they are (efficiently) able to chew on, it most certainly is at the present stage of development and some years to come

    ultimately, the prevailing reason to choose it or not will be the actual calculated price tag, not only considering the panels themselves, but also the supporting structure, attached electrical grid, maintenance, recycling & longevity (life-span) to name a few larger considerations

    lets see a few details here:

    production of electricity - they obviously overestimated the system (15%) as even home systems are rated at some 18% efficiency, notice the amount of wiring for that single panel, a bunch of electronic components inside (we all know how reliable these are), connecting them all (and protecting the wiring) to outside low power units, wiring these to larger power units with some stabilization/batteries/transformers, losing power at every section and keeping them functioning continuously - many parts mean many possibilities for failure with the impaired ability to fix them quickly considering the traffic - constant cleaning of the road necessary, small (inhalable) glass fragments, worse conditions for the tires/vehicles/passengers concerning the fragments and temperatures (noise?) - trouble with fitting/aligning (horiz./vert.) of the panels - snow/ice/water trouble, solar panel flexibility/bending/vibration/...and so on

    logically, this proposed system cannot substitute a concentrated commercial solar plant because of its prevailing disadvantages, meaning it will be more costly in the end calculation (keep in mind that solar plants are still a few times inferior to the nuclear ones)

    waste disposal (underlying structure) - may present significant problems due to its inhomogeneousness (unpredictable behavior & properties), whereas the organic compounds might chemically react with the waste - questionable stability, a significant consideration because of the aforementioned alignment/fitting problem - also, it would reduce some waste, but doesn't present a long term solution to its disposal

    road building (substituting asphalt) - asphalt can be recycled for the same purpose again with some 80% efficiency (solar panels will be much more expensive to recycle), its an already integrated technology with known issues (panels are bound to have many unknown issues)

    asphalt is supposedly getting continuously more expensive (the reason is oil companies playing for the 'green-energy' agenda, lowering the price difference, using the inexistent peak-oil as an excuse to curb the prices), and solar panels getting cheaper and receiving generous governmental research funds (politics playing for the 'green-energy' agenda to make it more enticing for commercial/private investment of capital), whereas the green-energy is nothing more than a new costly dream sold to the public (using the current environmentalist hype wave, CO2/methane/global warming/rising seas/climate scare, human willingness to help/repay/save the nature) in order to extract their capital and profit from it while the 'green-energy' systems are still over-priced and ineffective (the early bird catches the worm tactics)

    thats basically the agenda here, but like said before, if the overall price tag (and future profit) is right and it can serve the ruling multinational companies, it will be accepted/pushed, regardless of its environmental/human/animal/plant or other issues/concerns
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    First let me say thank you for the reply Slikrapid, I honestly value your opinion.
    Yes I partly agree with you. BUT: Solar panels are getting better day after day (e.g. using nickel instead of gold, drastically improving efficiency), and just recently solar energy became cheaper than nuclear power.
    I personally do not believe that they will require much more maintenance than asphalt, but that is just my opinion. Here is what I think: LEDs are not necessary in EACH block, just were there is a crossing and obviously they used common household soldering, wiring and components because it is a prototype. A commercial version will have a much more lasting design.
    Last but not least, asphalt breaks all the time, and until there isn't a few holes here and there, it is not replaced. You could easily do the same with this system.
    And think about the ammount of energy this could produce even at lower efficiency rates, given the vast surface it will cover.
    And about the "uses current technology", I meant that it is not some yet to come technology, just LEDs, glass and circuitry which are vastly used today.
    Regarding the agenda behind power companied: I am not Che Guevara, neither is any of us, so I will personally be happy if the power companies greed us out with solar panels instead of coal and diesel based plants ...but that is just me! you may grab your AK-47 and kill the lobbyists LOL
    Cheers!
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    Quote Originally Posted by desodorante View Post
    Solar panels are getting better day after day...and just recently solar energy became cheaper than nuclear power.
    sure, they are getting better, but they have still a long way to go in order to become commercially attractive - currently they are still overpriced and substantially politically backed-up (and politics doesn't back-up things just because they may be good for the consumers, but rather primarily because the involved industry/politicians are benefiting from it) - also, that doesn't mean other energy producing competitors are standing still, or have no more room to improve their offer

    as for solar energy being supposedly cheaper than nuclear power, you're probably referring to the NCW-SolarReport_final1, which is an incorrect biased document that gives deceiving results, meaning the price of solar energy is realistically about 3-9 times higher than their calculations want us to think (not even taking into consideration other related problems that weren't even addressed by this document)

    And think about the ammount of energy this could produce even at lower efficiency rates, given the vast surface it will cover.
    the key word here is: 'could', you will notice that in the video the 8-10 times increase in asphalt prices (you might ask yourself, how come its getting so costly, there is no other reason than that its politically driven) are almost the only numbers mentioned - no estimates on their own project performance whatsoever (except that it 'could' be huge) - and we know they have made estimates, otherwise they wouldn't even start the project, let alone be given some funding

    I will personally be happy if the power companies greed us out with solar panels instead of coal and diesel based plants
    be careful what you wish for...
    the question is, why would solar energy be any better than any other kind of energy?
    a smart country would invest in many energy sources to have backup options in case some of them prove to be troublesome - but our economic system gives priority only to that which is commercially exploitable (profit oriented), meaning if some energy source were to be the best but doesn't bring profits, it wouldn't be politically backed-up (even worse, it would be zealously fought against)

    you may grab your AK-47 and kill the lobbyists LOL
    ROFL, i'm sure there will be others with such ideas, the so called revolutionaries, but they are either manipulated from the start (the original starting idea) or end up as such in the end (the end result of their revolution), freedom fighters (to some extent) excluded
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