uw student probes solar road as path to future
We call it top today.
But what if it\'s a greenhouse?
Making a road with glass sounds far awayfetched.
But imagine the potential.
The sun can shine on the solar panels below.
\"If you install solar panels on every interstate in the United States, you can generate three times as much electricity a day,\" said Andrew Northmore, an engineering student.
The 24-year-old Normore plans to see how a solar road can play a role in the University of Waterloo\'s breakthrough research.
\"This is one of the joys of what we try to do in engineering, actually turning these scientific ideas into something practical,\" he said . \".
This is a great idea.
We have filled our landscape with sidewalks, most of which are directly under the sun.
Why not use it to capture the energy of the sun?
But there are many challenges.
Can you really drive in glass?
It sounds slippery.
Can it withstand traffic and ice?
What about the dark rubber left by the tire?
Will the pressure of traffic destroy the fiberglass base that supports the glass surface and solar panels?
While the solar highway is the ultimate goal, the more practical starting point is the solar sidewalk or parking lot, with less collisions.
Imagine a parking lot that lights itself up with solar panels embedded in the driveway.
Imagine having enough juice on the sidewalk to melt your own snow.
Imagine embedding solar panels on the shoulder of the road and selling power to the grid.
Susan Tighe doesn\'t know who else in Canada is looking at solar roads from a civil engineering perspective.
\"It\'s not something that will replace asphalt or concrete very soon,\" UW e said . \" UW e is the director of the road and transportation technology center of UW.
But \"it has a lot of potential.
Northmore will write a graduate thesis around his research.
In the coming months, he plans to build and test three prototypes, about 1 m² each.
People will measure the power of the solar panels embedded between the glass surface and the fiberglass base.
The glass will be laminated, tempered and textured to enhance the strength, and the glass will contain fragments if the glass breaks and prevents sliding.
The second prototype will be frozen 100 times.
Unfreeze the cycle in the lab refrigerator to simulate three winters.
The third prototype will be squashed to see what it takes to break it.
Northmore was excited to \"get my hands dirty and do something that could have a very big impact on the world\'s energy infrastructure.
\"A paper he wrote about his research at a recent engineering conference was listed as one of the top student papers.
\"We need to look at how we can create a more sustainable energy future for our children and grandchildren so that they can also have a beautiful and happy planet,\" he said . \".
Jouthit @ township enterprises.