Asphalt retains heat well. Researchers want to harness the energy. Here’s how they plan to do it.
Embed photovoltaic cells in the pavement and use it to power street lights.
Put water-filled pipes in the asphalt, which would be warmed by the sun, to melt ice on bridges and heat nearby buildings.
Use thermo-electric semiconductors to create power based on warm / cold differences in the road.
Replace current roads with “large, durable electronic blocks that contain photovoltaic cells, LED lights and sensors.” Protypes of this already exist.
“This kind of advanced technology will take time to be accepted by the transportation industries,” Lee said. “But we’ve been using asphalt for our highways for more than 100 years, and pretty soon it will be time for a change.”