Today, the road industry confronts enormous difficulties with the ever-evolving tech; modern road standards should be in line with the latest te. Aside from the technical components, today’s roads should be more innovative, faster, and cheaper, all through their construction, maintenance, and operational costs.
Fossil fuels are not environmentally friendly and are getting more limited. As such, they are significant shortcomings to road technology. Dependency on natural sources of energy that aren’t environmentally friendly can decrease consumers if users implement the use of renewable forms of energy.
Companies or individuals can scale up green energy (like solar hervey bay) when they harness power from other alternative energy sources. Further, this can supplement and cover different commercial and domestic needs. Such needs may include building pavements, designing pathways, and any other everyday operational needs.
In the last few years, there has been an advent of intelligent pavements capable of producing local renewable energy. Harnessing energy with solar pavements is safe for planet earth. At the same time, it’s economical and sustainable.
There are various kinds of solar pavements, but the technologies incorporated in pavement construction can be categorized into two:
- Electrical Collector Pavement
- Thermal Collector Pavement
1. Electrical Collector Pavement
Electrical collector pavement is a flexible system that you can operate and drive on. These collectors have photovoltaic panels on them. The driving area is transparent and produces energy via the solar panels beneath it. Further, the solar boards possess microprocessor-driven LED lights that provide information on the pavement surface, originating lines, and signs.
This renewable energy tech enables the effective transformation of sunlight to electrical energy. Besides, linking it to the grids is pretty fast and straightforward. Nonetheless, the quantity of power produced can be modest since it relies on sunlight.
In the daytime, photovoltaics run the grid on green energy, reducing any need for fossil fuels. As a result, the environment is conserved. Even better, when there is no sun to generate power at night, energy can be stored using energy storage devices.
These daytime energy storage devices can be condensers or batteries, which provide power at night for any additional electrical consumption needs. In turn, they boost the absorption of RES in the system.
2. Thermal Collector Pavement
Thermal collectors in pavements absorb heat from solar energy. In full sunlight, the asphalt pavement temperature is mostly 15 degrees Celsius above the ambient temperature.
Also, water can gather this warmth when flowing via a range of pipes installed in the pavement surface to enable a continuous collection of heat on high-temperature days(summer)- this produces renewable green energy.
Three levels of layers make up the thermal collector asphalt: the first is the bitumen paved layer. Beneath this layer is a pipe system through which water flows, and a thermal exchange occurs between the floor’s fluid and heat.
This piping system is horizontal and conjoined with a vertical pipe that leads to the thermal storage area. Usually, the thermal storage area is ten meters away from the surface of the ground. That particular height is selected to achieve thermal insulation.
Alternatively, pavement makers can install a thermally isolated box. In such situations, they suspend water near the surface of the earth. Thermal exchanges involving the water and the paving cool down the pavement during summer and heat it in winter.
Further, in summer, water circulating through the horizontal piping system is transmitted to the thermal storage via the vertical piping system. Conversely, the water rises from its storage up the horizontal pipelines to heat the paving during the winter.
This technology’s main goal was to enable better infrastructure maintenance mechanisms in the winter season (for de-icing). It was later on improved and used for heat exchange in neighbouring buildings.
How Does Heat Transfer Through The Solar Pavements?
It is crucial to describe the entire energy transmission process in the area of energy collection from pavements since the development of this tech must include all thermal transfer components.
The processes of the heat exchange is characterized by;
- Solar radiation
- Absorption and reflection
Sunlight produces solar radiation, which partially refracts in the clouds, ground, and atmosphere, whereas layers of the pavement trap the other half. Asphalt is extremely black (same as a black body, with an absorptivity rate near 1). Therefore, the absorbed heat is partially absorbed in each asphalt surface and transmitted partly to the unlinked layers below.
Several elements influence the temperature transfer profile of pavements collectors, such as the speed of wind near the pavement, the intensity of the solar energy, the ambient temperature, the heat transfer layout, and the circulating system of water flow rate, among others.
Solar pavement collectors are sustainable development systems with multifunctional effectiveness: they produce energy that can be used in many ways, thereby keeping the environment green and protecting pavements from any deterioration.