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Page featuring the general concept of pumping water through pipes in pavement to use the black-body absorption of the asphalt to collect solar heat and transmit it to the water. There will be some heat from tire wear as well, in road paradigms.
How it Works
The principle is the reverse of under-floor heating. Instead of pumping hot water into a floor, the floor (or road, to be precise) heats the water. Special pipes are laid on top of a grid frame, under the tarmac or asphalt, or whatever it is called in your neck of the woods. Sunlight is absorbed by the wide, black road surface, which boosts the temperature of the water just beneath. This turns roads into massive solar hot water heaters.
The idea originated in the Netherlands, where it has been used in flyovers and airports to provide hot water for housing.
Inventor: Henk Verweijmeren
Founded Invisible Heating Systems in 1995.
- Solar >
Solar Roadways - Imagine a series of interconnected glassified Solar Road Panels™ that you actually drive on. The idea is to replace all current asphalt roads, parking lots and driveways with 12 square foot Solar Road Panels™, each producing an average of 7.6kWh per day.
Invisible Heating Systems, Scotland
Recently laid down a Road Energy System in the carpark of their new offices. (June, 2006)
In the News
- Asphalt Power: Unlocking 4 Million Miles of Solar Energy - The United States’ highway network consists of a tremendous expanse of roads and streets stretching 4 million miles. All day long these transit routes soak up the sun’s rays, storing an immense amount of energy that is left to dissipate by nightfall. The concept of asphalt-absorbed solar energy is enticing because it offers an inexpensive way to collect solar energy by utilizing an extensive infrastructure that already exists. (Inhabitat; Aug. 18, 2008)
- Capturing solar energy from asphalt pavements - Massachusetts researchers have found a new method for capturing solar energy. They’re using heat from asphalt and other paved surfaces to produce electricity. Through asphalt, ‘the researchers are developing a solar collector that could turn roads and parking lots into ubiquitous — and inexpensive — sources of electricity and hot water.’ (ZDNet; Aug. 14, 2008)
- Hot asphalt tapped for its solar power - Solar energy collected from a 200-yard stretch of road and a small parking lot helps heat a 70-unit four-story apartment building in the northern village of Avenhorn. An industrial park of some 160,000 square feet in the nearby city of Hoorn is kept warm in winter with the help of heat stored during the summer from 36,000 square feet of pavement. The runways of a Dutch air force base in the south supply heat for its hangar. (MSNBC; Dec. 31, 2007)
- Siphoning Heat from Asphalt - Ooms Avenhorn Holding, a Dutch civil engineering company, developed Road Energy Systems; a technology that siphons heat from roads and parking lots to heat offices and homes. The system can also pump cold water from a reservoir to cool buildings in the summer. The energy required is only about half of what would otherwise be needed. (TreeHugger; Jan. 3, 2008)
- Sheepish observation put businessman on road to hot invention - A DUTCH businessman on holiday in the Highlands noticed how sheep liked to lie on roads warmed by the day's sunshine. From that simple observation 15 years ago, a heating system has been developed that allows car parks and roads to act as solar panels, storing energy in aquifers – layers of water-bearing permeable rock. (The Herald.co.uk; June 22 2006)
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