Is a solar-powered glass road in our driving future? Scott Brusaw, an engineer from Idaho, believes so. With aid and interest from the federal government and General Electric, Brusaw has been refining his concept of the road of the future. Super-strong glass and solar cells embedded below the top layers could serve as both a nexus of travel and energy.
As the sun energizes the solar cells, energy can be transferred to power street signs, nearby homes and roadside businesses. In snowy climates, the collected energy could heat the roadway and melt snow and ice, eliminating the need for large fleets of plows.
Brusaw insists that glass developers can create a strong enough material that traction and durability would not be an issue. A few problems do stand in the way of course, as is typically the case with new ideas and technology. Most notable of these problems is the issue of cost. Brusaw estimates that it would costs about $4.4 million per mile to lay down this super-glass roadway. Of course, the road would eventually recoup that money and even generate a greater return, but the initial cost is a daunting one.
Brusaw hopes to begin proving the effectiveness of the technology and he is going to do so by starting smaller by teaming up with a nationwide chain to revamp existing parking lots. The lots could be heated and also over a recharging station for electric vehicles.