China, which is going full steam ahead with its pollution control initiatives, is now planning to build a 2-kilometre-long solar highway. The solar panels on the highway will provide electricity to the towns in its vicinity. Engineers also wish to power electric cars wirelessly on the streets using the solar panels on the road.
The area designated for the novel project is tech and transportation hub of Jinan South Ring Expressway. The eastern Chinese city of Jinan in its vicinity houses a population of 7 million and is also highly polluted. Hence the experiment in the area.
Road to Consist of Three Layers
The solar-powered leg of the expressway would be thrown open to public by the end of 2018 and it will be able to support trucks that are medium sized or small, reported the state-owned media.
Engineers are building three layers for the photovoltaic highway. The topmost among them would be comprised of transparent concrete akin to asphalt. The solar panels would be placed beneath them to absorb the sunrays. The solar panels would also have a strip of insulation beneath them to protect them from the impact of the earth below.
Another USP of the solar highway – the panels can transfer heat through the concrete thereby serving to melt snow automatically.
Despite being around since 2014, solar roads are a rarity. They were first installed in the Netherlands.
Recently, China’s obsession with solar as an alternative to other highly polluting sources of power, has led to undertaking the current ambitious project.