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 Post subject: Solar roadways
PostPosted: Fri May 23, 2014 9:49 pm 
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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qlTA3rnpgzU

Please help there campaign. I am not with them at all.

https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/solar-roadways#home

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 Post subject: Re: Solar roadways
PostPosted: Fri May 23, 2014 10:51 pm 
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This is an interesting concept. It would have to be wired such that if one panel fails the rest still work. Hopefully they can withstand lots of abuse. I would love these on my driveway - no more shoveling!

-d


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 Post subject: Re: Solar roadways
PostPosted: Fri May 23, 2014 11:53 pm 
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I saw the video, and have mixed feelings about this...

I see it as an advancement, and beneficial to a lot of people for sure. Now, as things break over time I see some problems, but that's not what I'm going at here.

My biggest "problem" if it can be called that, is how it handles natural weather and the effects of it. I am a person that doesn't want everything to be automated or done for me. Personally, if something must be done on an automatic device, like a photocopier, I would personally be fine with that as I'm unable to duplicate a paper with something on it like that device can. On the adverse side of this, if the papers needed to be hole-punched or stapled, I would rather do such myself, rather than a machine. Sure it looks worse in a uniform grade, but I personally don't enjoy all things being automated.

So, if there was a way to maybe have an "owner defined" setting on property such as housing in the way it functions, I would like that. I'd shovel snow away, and be fine doing so even with the solar road tiles on my property. I'm the kind of individual that doesn't want to move onto new advancements too fast, which has it's benefits and downfalls, but I'm willing to work with it.

I for one want the solar roadway idea to work large scale, but individually I'd prefer to include some human action along side it. Am I the only one here that may feel the same?

Either way I like this (and the video amused me as well), and want to see it happen on a large-scaled test so to say.

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 Post subject: Re: Solar roadways
PostPosted: Sat May 24, 2014 12:04 am 
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I've been seeing this project all over the place and I feel like I'm the only one who thinks it's a complete and utterly stupid idea. Let's set aside my doubts about the profitability of solar and just look at the basic concept. They want to create solar panels, then put them somewhere where something will be covering them. This is like putting a rain gauge under an umbrella or a toaster inside your refrigerator. Yes, I realize cars aren't covering every inch of the road all the time, but their first prototype is labeled as a "parking lot" which I'm pretty sure is the worst case scenario for solar energy road.
If you want to make a solar product, you should be maximizing their potential. Pairing it with a road doesn't make much sense to me.

Bit nitpicky but one problem I have with the video is that they say there's 15 billion years worth of sunlight. It's well known that the sun only has ~5 billion years left before it expands and fries the Earth. Another minor thing is they talk about saving salt from deicing, while I'm sure some places still use salt, I know around here they've switched to another solvent that's less harmful.

Costs are going to be through the roof compared to asphalt too. With some quick googling, I found that an average lane mile costs $100,000-500,000 depending on the type of road and location. This comes out to be about $2-10 per square foot. With a bit more searching, I find the material costs of the solar panels alone are $20/square foot. This doesn't count everything else in the tiles or the manual labor to install them. I doubt many communities would be willing/able to replace their roads with this system, much less replace the entire United State's 8.5 million lane miles like they made projections for.

I've got a lot more problems with it but too lazy to rant type it all out.

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 Post subject: Re: Solar roadways
PostPosted: Sat May 24, 2014 3:47 am 
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GuiltyBystander wrote:
They want to create solar panels, then put them somewhere where something will be covering them. This is like putting a rain gauge under an umbrella or a toaster inside your refrigerator. Yes, I realize cars aren't covering every inch of the road all the time, but their first prototype is labeled as a "parking lot" which I'm pretty sure is the worst case scenario for solar energy road.


I don't know about where you live, but here it is very unusual for a car park to be anywhere near full at any time except peak periods, plus there is lots of space between the parking spaces that is there only for movement of cars that will be exposed most of the time.

GuiltyBystander wrote:
If you want to make a solar product, you should be maximizing their potential. Pairing it with a road doesn't make much sense to me.


But surely the point is, you are using space that is already allocated, rather than covering more farmland, wilderness whatever with something that creates power, you are giving a dual purpose to roads, something that is already there, and making it create power, instead of filling the countryside / oceans with turbines etc (which I don't really have a problem with - we do need renewable energy to start becoming widespread) however using something like this makes perfect sense to me. Even a busy road, that has flowing traffic at speed, how much of the road is actually going to be covered at any one time. 20% 30%? I'm guessing here obviously, but with the gaps between traffic, it seems to me that a lot will be exposed, and this just seems like a great idea to me.

GuiltyBystander wrote:
while I'm sure some places still use salt, I know around here they've switched to another solvent that's less harmful.


Still salt here :/

GuiltyBystander wrote:
Costs are going to be through the roof compared to asphalt too. With some quick googling, I found that an average lane mile costs $100,000-500,000 depending on the type of road and location. This comes out to be about $2-10 per square foot. With a bit more searching, I find the material costs of the solar panels alone are $20/square foot. This doesn't count everything else in the tiles or the manual labor to install them. I doubt many communities would be willing/able to replace their roads with this system, much less replace the entire United State's 8.5 million lane miles like they made projections for.



Of course it is going to be financially expensive. I think that is obvious. Governments waste billions, probably trillions around the world on unnecessary things. The money could be found if there was enough public pressure. I'm sure nobody would expect this to happen overnight. This is something that would take many decades to complete, therefore spreading the cost also. It would begin in the places where the best cost to energy ratio would be, therefore mitigating the costs, by providing more energy, which will produce income to fund the next stages.

Obviously it needs some testing in terms of average life expectancy of panels, safety with different weather types, amount of traction provided compared with tarmac etc, but this strikes me immediately as a great idea.

If it meets all the required standards, I see no reason why this wouldn't be useful in a lot of the world.

However, the one side that does concern me is all the copper wiring that will be involved to collect all the power. We have a big problem in this country of thieves stealing the wires from electric railways, causing big disruption, and this would likely provide even more opportunities for this to happen, so this problem would definitely need to be eradicated in some way.

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 Post subject: Re: Solar roadways
PostPosted: Sat May 24, 2014 8:01 am 
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Great concept! But financially and economically? It's a non-starter, and won't get further than a couple of trade shows. Governments can't afford to fill a few pot holes in the current tarmac, let alone replace the entire surface with hi-tech gadgetry.

Perhaps it will get on one or two new roads in Dubai at most, just for show, where there's lots of sun and also more money than sense.

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 Post subject: Re: Solar roadways
PostPosted: Sat May 24, 2014 8:42 am 
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For many reasons this idea makes no sense:

-Adherence will be a shame in face to tarmac, and while raining it will be like ice... think to brake distance, motorbikes...

-Dirt, oil, small pieces of tire, engine particles will reduce little by little the amount of power produced by those "tiles". Plus the protective material that will stop a large amount of light. Someone plan to clean these roads everyday?

-Each part of a road don't get the same amount of sun light. Trees, houses, tunnel, forest, north face of a hill... some tiles will be useless and many more will just not make enough power to be gainful.

-Who would not want to play with giant screens? Hacking these devices will be delightful for hackers...


And many many more, but I had more serious things to do... :wink:


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 Post subject: Re: Solar roadways
PostPosted: Sat May 24, 2014 9:16 am 
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leRAFs wrote:
For many reasons this idea makes no sense:

-Adherence will be a shame in face to tarmac, and while raining it will be like ice... think to brake distance, motorbikes...



'Our glass surface has been tested for traction, load testing, and impact resistance testing in civil engineering laboratories around the country, and exceeded all requirements.'

I'm pretty certain that any vaguely intelligent person working on this would have asked the question 'how are they when they are wet' and this would have been part of the above mentioned tests.

leRAFs wrote:
-Dirt, oil, small pieces of tire, engine particles will reduce little by little the amount of power produced by those "tiles". Plus the protective material that will stop a large amount of light. Someone plan to clean these roads everyday?



Most roads here get swept on a regular basis by moving vehicles. I see no reason why a new version can not be used to clean these instead.

leRAFs wrote:
-Each part of a road don't get the same amount of sun light. Trees, houses, tunnel, forest, north face of a hill... some tiles will be useless and many more will just not make enough power to be gainful.



Nobody suggested, i don't think, that they will all be working at maximum efficiency all the time. The point is, you are making roads dual purpose - they are roads, and produce power. We absolutely need renewal energy solutions - this achieves it without any more space having to be devoted to achieving that - not great big wind farms, solar power farms having to be created replacing farm land or wild plants or whatever, because the roads are already there.

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 Post subject: Re: Solar roadways
PostPosted: Sat May 24, 2014 9:41 am 
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Well, it sounds like a good idea, but it does not seem practical. Let's say it would cost 1 trillion dollars to pave all of the suitable spaces in the US. I think 1 trillion dollars would be better spent on cracking the problem of nuclear fusion, which would generate almost limitless, low cost, low pollution electricity, without having to change the existing electricity distribution network at all. And the idea of including LEDs in each panel to create road surface markings is (a) a gimmick, and (b) syphoning off some of the useful electricity you are trying to generate for said gimmick.

As an engineer, KISS is my watchword, and this idea is certainly not that. But hats off to them for trying to push this along.

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 Post subject: Re: Solar roadways
PostPosted: Sat May 24, 2014 1:26 pm 
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KelvinS wrote:
Great concept! But financially and economically? It's a non-starter, and won't get further than a couple of trade shows...

With all due respect, I believe you and your forum signature are in fundamental disagreement on this. :lol:

There are dozens of reasons why any ambitious project might not work,
  but unless at least one of those reasons is logically or scientifically indisputable,
  there is no reason not to implement it on a small scale to test and refine it.

A small stretch of a well-travelled road in some country is sufficient.
Until this is done, any discussion of the practicality or economy of largescale implementation is interesting, but purely hypothetic.

Sometimes it's surprising where money or resources can come from.
 


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 Post subject: Re: Solar roadways
PostPosted: Sat May 24, 2014 2:55 pm 
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@crypticat: Doing something different doesn't require doing something stupid. I've never had a billion dollars, and I've never jumped in front of a train, but that doesn't mean I will get a billion dollars if I jump in front of a train! In this case it is obvious why this couldn't work: Because the investment required would be astronomical, would not justify the benefits, and would be better spent elsewhere, even if any government had that kind of money in the first place, which they don't because they are all seriously in debt and struggling to stay afloat. And I'm not even talking about replacing an entire road system. Even replacing a single square meter would cost more than any benefit it gives. Just think about the labour required, plus costs for transportation and fuel to ship the tiles, and the energy required to do the work. Forget it.

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 Post subject: Re: Solar roadways
PostPosted: Sat May 24, 2014 3:45 pm 
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KelvinS wrote:
I've never had a billion dollars, and I've never jumped in front of a train, but that doesn't mean I will get a billion dollars if I jump in front of a train!

Hyperbole does not make an intelligent analogy.

I'm not meaning to pick a fight with you, I'm simply suggesting that this is an interesting idea that should be tested somewhere.
The investment would be astronomical only if the intent is to implement it universally and all at once. My impression is that the grandiose claims in the presentation video are employed as nothing more than an emotional marketing technique.

KelvinS wrote:
Just think about the labour required, plus costs for transportation and fuel to ship the tiles, and the energy required to do the work.

Required labour is part of their proposal, means of transportation are already in place, and I'm not quite clear on the meaning of your third point.

However...
KelvinS wrote:
Even replacing a single square meter would cost more than any benefit it gives.

...you appear to have much more information than I do.
How much would a square metre cost?
 


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 Post subject: Re: Solar roadways
PostPosted: Sat May 24, 2014 3:59 pm 
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crypticat wrote:
How much would a square metre cost? 

Obviously a lot more than filling in a pot hole with just tarmac, and even that seems to cost too much for most governments.

Perhaps the biggest cost would be digging up all the perfectly good surrounding road, just to lay the wiring.

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 Post subject: Re: Solar roadways
PostPosted: Sat May 24, 2014 5:17 pm 
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KelvinS wrote:
Perhaps the biggest cost would be digging up all the perfectly good surrounding road, just to lay the wiring.
Perhaps the biggest cost would be digging up ALL of the road just to lay out the hexagonal units :D This will not work, it is doomed to failure, for reasons I and Kelvin have already explained. It is always nice to believe that these sort of ideas will work, but common sense and the present reality dictate otherwise.

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 Post subject: Re: Solar roadways
PostPosted: Sat May 24, 2014 5:47 pm 
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Agreed.

If you want to save a huge amount of wasted energy and money in building roads (and thus make a ton of money for yourself), find a really cheap additive that will prevent tarmac from over-hardening, cracking and disintegrating with the weather (sun, heat, rain, snow, frost, ice, etc.) so that it will last twice as long.

Perhaps adding waste plastic to the molten tarmac might do the trick, while saving even more costs by avoiding the need to bury, burn or even recycle the waste plastic? Perhaps building roads with rubbish instead of expensive gadgets would *save* more money and energy than any solar cell could ever produce?

How's that for simple, smart *and* different? :wink:

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 Post subject: Re: Solar roadways
PostPosted: Sat May 24, 2014 7:20 pm 
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I think it's a great idea obviously in its infancy with a very over the top video. This won't happen today but I don't see the harm in aiming big - we've built pyramids, went to the moon, why not energy producing roads as this generations great achievement?

I also like the fact that it creates a dual purpose for roads unlike the other ideas presented here although some variant of them would probably be more likely in the near future!

Plus isn't it about time some of the future we were promised as kids started coming true? I mean, Tron roads, how cool would that be?!


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 Post subject: Re: Solar roadways
PostPosted: Sat May 24, 2014 7:35 pm 
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Zzupler wrote:
Plus isn't it about time some of the future we were promised as kids started coming true?

Unfortunately we've already spent our future. Now we have to pay for it.

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Last edited by KelvinS on Sat May 24, 2014 7:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Solar roadways
PostPosted: Sat May 24, 2014 7:41 pm 
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KelvinS wrote:
Unfortunately we've already spent our future. Now we have to pay for it.


I think I know your second name... is it KillJoy? :lol:


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 Post subject: Re: Solar roadways
PostPosted: Sat May 24, 2014 8:07 pm 
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Gus wrote:
I think 1 trillion dollars would be better spent on cracking the problem of nuclear fusion, which would generate almost limitless, low cost, low pollution electricity, without having to change the existing electricity distribution network at all.

Have you heard of ITER? I think that's what it's called. Multi-nation project trying to make the first fusion reactor. They say it will be 10 times hotter than the core of the sun.

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 Post subject: Re: Solar roadways
PostPosted: Sat May 24, 2014 8:24 pm 
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Never gonna happen.

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 Post subject: Re: Solar roadways
PostPosted: Sun May 25, 2014 4:07 am 
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Tony Fisher wrote:
Never gonna happen.
Which one, ITER or Solar Roadways?

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 Post subject: Re: Solar roadways
PostPosted: Sun May 25, 2014 7:02 am 
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martywolfman wrote:
"Our glass surface has been tested for traction, load testing, bla bla bla...."

Ok they have been tested, great. But it's glass, GLASS! I don't care of their "tests", it's glass, go buy a Superbike and test to do that on their "freakin' tiles"



I'm a Ducati owner from years and I will never put my tires on these "things". How can you imagine a tire had a normal behavior on these bumpy piece of glass... seriously.
All their tests are theoretical tests, made on one tile or maybe on the little square they made next to their house...

martywolfman wrote:
Most roads here get swept on a regular basis by moving vehicles. I see no reason why a new version can not be used to clean these instead.


I live in the french riviera, next to famous Saint-Tropez, I could say it's not the poorest place in the world... and NO ONE is wasting money and (so precious) water to wash the roads. Some streets in villages are washed but the ROADS don't!

martywolfman wrote:
Nobody suggested, i don't think, that they will all be working at maximum efficiency all the time. The point is, you are making roads dual purpose - they are roads, and produce power. We absolutely need renewal energy solutions - this achieves it without any more space having to be devoted to achieving that - not great big wind farms, solar power farms having to be created replacing farm land or wild plants or whatever, because the roads are already there.


Making solar panels not to use them at their maximum efficiency is stupid. They don't magically appears on the roads, they need rare metals, lot of pollution to create and carry them, and after all, place them in a "non maximum efficiency place" don't seems to be a problem for you...

So go waste your money with other hopeful people, it's the solar freakin' future!


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 Post subject: Re: Solar roadways
PostPosted: Tue May 27, 2014 1:18 am 
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martywolfman wrote:
I don't know about where you live, but here it is very unusual for a car park to be anywhere near full at any time except peak periods
Isn't peak periods going to be when there's sun out too?

martywolfman wrote:
Still salt here :/
Alright, fair point then.

martywolfman wrote:
leRAFs wrote:
-Dirt, oil, small pieces of tire, engine particles will reduce little by little the amount of power produced by those "tiles". Plus the protective material that will stop a large amount of light. Someone plan to clean these roads everyday?
Most roads here get swept on a regular basis by moving vehicles. I see no reason why a new version can not be used to clean these instead.
Roles are reverse, we don't sweep our streets here. And I would think that the sweepers only clean up the larger particles, not the tiny stuff that gets into the cracks and texture of the surface.
This is actually a much bigger problem than leRAFs describes. The biggest cost to large scale solar power plant is dust scratching the surface of the protective glass. If tiny scratches are bad, what do you think driving a car across it is going to do? Even the forced texture they apply so cars get traction is going to eat up a lot of your efficiency.

I found a site that aggregates data to predict how quickly solar will pay back in your area. I'm not sure how accurate this is but it seems reasonable from other stuff I've heard. In some areas, solar does make sense. But when you add in the fact that you have reduced efficiency and added costs beyond the solar components, I'm doubtful solar roadways would ever pay for themselves.
http://1bog.org/blog/infographic-how-mu ... olar-cost/

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 Post subject: Re: Solar roadways
PostPosted: Sat May 31, 2014 11:08 pm 
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I'm with leRAFs, I would never trust that road while riding my bike at full tilt. Plus, all of the dirt and grime from the vehicles would quickly abrade the glass surface and smooth it out removing all traction. In their video they drove a tractor over the surface slowly, how about an emergency stop test on that surface?


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 Post subject: Re: Solar roadways
PostPosted: Sun Jun 01, 2014 9:37 am 
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Ignoring all practical, logistic, and political issues, the concept sounds like something out of an awesome sci-fi future.

Speaking Practically, unless I'm missing something, this concept only resolves one issue that has hindered the widespread adoption of traditional solar panels(Namely, the need for large surface areas by dual-purposing space already allocated for utilitarian use) while making another issue far worse(Needing a high traction surface and far greater durability likely makes the road tiles significantly more expensive than traditional solar panels). Personally, I would say a better avenue would be to improve the technology of traditional panels to make them cheaper, easier to install in existing structures, and economical enough to to convince home owners and businesses that roof-mount solar arrays are worth the investment and construction companies that they are worth implementing in new constructions.

Even if these solar road tiles were economical(say, only twice the cost of asphalt on average per lane mile for both repavement and new construction), how many owners of existing power production infrastructure are going to sit back and let the government start building these solar roads en masse? This might not be an issue in countries where the government owns the power grid, but the US Federal Government and the Governments of the individual states are going to be bombarded by Big Power Lobbyists to stop these solar roads if they ever gain traction.

As for Nuclear Fusion, even if the technology was mature, how do you convince the masses that a Fusion reactor isn't a Chernobyl waiting to happen? Hell, all statistics indicate that Nuclear Fision is far safer and cleaner than Coal powered power plants and far more economical than most renewable energy sources, yet the masses would rather stick to air polluting coal to the bitter end or preach the benefits of renewable energy that could bankrupt an area in implementation costs than allow even a small reactor in their neighborhood.

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 Post subject: Re: Solar roadways
PostPosted: Sun Jun 01, 2014 10:22 am 
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Jeffery Mewtamer wrote:
As for Nuclear Fusion, even if the technology was mature, how do you convince the masses that a Fusion reactor isn't a Chernobyl waiting to happen? Hell, all statistics indicate that Nuclear Fision is far safer and cleaner than Coal powered power plants and far more economical than most renewable energy sources, yet the masses would rather stick to air polluting coal to the bitter end or preach the benefits of renewable energy that could bankrupt an area in implementation costs than allow even a small reactor in their neighborhood.


Right on, even hydroelectric plants have major problems:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2009_Sayan ... n_accident
The larger the power plant, the larger the potential issues regardless of the source of the power.

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 Post subject: Re: Solar roadways
PostPosted: Mon Jun 02, 2014 10:03 am 
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They just talked about this quickly on the latest SGU.

While an interesting concept, I'm not sure how it'll turn out. I'm glad it got funded, let's see where it goes.

A better start would be solar panels on houses, IMO. The technology for that already exists.

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