[krvod url=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SNMFKKyFU60]Solar roadways could be our salvation. We need cleaner air, more jobs, better road safety, and plentiful energy, and solar roadways could solve all those problems.  Scott and Julie Brusaw, two engineers from Sagle, Idaho, have come up with an idea that could actually work.

The idea is simple: hexagonal road tiles made of tough industrial glass, filled with electronics that let them collect, store and distribute energy, and light up with patterns to demark where people should be driving their cars and alert them to potential hazards on the road ahead.  They can also heat the roadway to keep the surface free of ice and snow.  Electrical vehicles might even be able to recharge via induction while driving.

The solar roadway tiles can be installed on any flat surface, can be made in a variety of sizes, and can be made using a very high percentage of recycled materials (mostly the glass component).

There is already a working prototype “parking lot” paved with these tiles, which meet or exceed every road surface criterion of every country to whom they’ve submitted the specifications so far.

Scott and Julie Brusaw, engineers of the solar roadway tile, with their daughter.

Scott and Julie Brusaw, engineers of the solar roadway tile, shown here with their daughter.

Scott is an electrical engineer (MSEE) and Julie is a counselor (MA LCPC LMFT) in private practice. Scott has worked in the engineering field for over 25 years and his main fields of expertise are in hardware, firmware, and software. They started working together on the project in 2006, and since that time they’ve won award after award and been written up in every major tech and science publication there is.

The idea has some down sides, to be sure.  What happens when somebody drops metal pipes off the back of a truck onto them at 75 miles per hour?  What happens during an earthquake? What happens when the electrolytic capacitors on the circuit boards go bad?  There are other problems as well. While the energy they produce might be clean, the manufacture of the electronics used in each tile are most definitely not.  What happens when big oil decides that free power for everyone threatens their business model?  Will they force communities to tax the idea into oblivion, or make them simply illegal, as the states of New Jersey, Texas and Arizona have done with the Tesla automobile?

Even if the idea of solar roadways only goes a little way, it’s still a fantastic idea that solves enough problems to be worth our support and attention.  A lot of other people already think so, and they’ve already made their goal.  We might just see some of these roads in our future.

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