Solar Roadways Essay

1229 words - 5 pages

Laureen LaFondProf CummingsEnglish College CompOctober 1, 2014Solar RoadwaysThe world as we all know it today is slowly being killed. Environmentalists are encouraging people to go green for everything! From recycling, reusable containers, electric cars, to solar roadways? According to the Energy Information Association, it's estimated that less than half the world's total conventional oil supply will be exhausted by 2030. These estimates include existing oil supplies and further expected supplies resulting from new technology and discovery. World oil supply at the end of 2013 totaled 1645.98 billion barrels, over 3.1 times the level in 1971. The world's oil supplies have steadily increased amongst the face of rising consumption. (EIA) Once we run out of oil, we're forced to find another solution. Solar Roadways are a concept of replacing current petroleum-based asphalt roads, parking lots, and driveways with road panels made from recycled materials and incorporating photovoltaic cells that generate renewable energy that may be used by homes and businesses, and with any excess energy perhaps stored in or alongside the road. There are many potential downsides to this process, but also many environmental benefits. In this essay I will explain more in depth the process of using and future use, and elaborate on the benefits and concerns people may have about solar roadways.Founders: Scott Brusaw and his wife, Julie, often tell their story of how they met at such a young age. Scott works as an electrical engineer, and Julie is a passionate environmentalist. Their idea is to use photovoltaic cells, which absorb photons of light and directly convert them into electrons to produce electricity (NASA Photovoltaics), and encase them in frames of sturdy glass capable of withstanding the pressures of typical traffic patterns. The specifics for their glass panels, which was developed by three separate universities, has been tested to withstand 250,000 pounds of pressure. Additionally, it's shaped to meet Federal Highway Association traction requirements for stopping large vehicles at high speeds (Brusaw FAQ). This weight is almost twice that of a standard military tank, and three times the legal limit of 80,000 pounds. The glass has also been designed to eliminate glare which would otherwise cause visibility impairments for drivers and pedestrians (Brusaw FAQ). Solar Roadways has financed their innovative project through two separate grants from the FHA, as well as a recent personal effort which turned in nearly $1,900,000 in donations as of June 2, 2014 (Indiegogo). The thousands who have donated have done so with noble cause: the project has the long-term potential to resolve many of the greatest issues currently ailing our suffering planet.Personally, I had been one of those few who only have heard of the viral video, "Solar FREAKIN Roadways," and didn't think much else about how it. I assumed it was probably a fad waiting to die out, and no one would catch...

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