I am a big fan of solar roads and solar bike lanes. It is true that in terms of efficiency and placement, these might not be the best. However, I cannot think of a better way to utilize these gigantic paved spaces.
So after the solar roadways, and the solar bike lanes, here comes the new solar sidewalk by the Hungarian company PLATIO. The innovative part here is hidden in the pavement. It is made of recycled plastics and can harness both solar and (soon) kinetic energy.
A few more details. The pavers comprise of monocrystalline silicon cells, placed inside tempered glass. These are then fitted into a molded recycled plastic framework. The pavers click together, just like LEGO bricks. They are highly durable, and can easily handle the daily traffic. Last but not least, these pavers also come in different colors, adding an extra aesthetic touch to the whole picture.
In terms of efficiency, the pavers are not the greatest. After all, they will be used on the ground, with not much consideration about sun positioning or shadow. Per square meter of this installation, PLATIO pavement will generate about 160W. It is not superb at this stage, but this is only because the kinetic energy component is still under development.
The makers believe that once this part is integrated into the system, the pavement will be able to generate sufficient amount of energy to power the not-so-energy-demanding daily applications.
The best part of all is that the main building material behind PLATIO is used plastics.
The company has already raised some fair bit of money. They have also managed to sell 150 square meters of the green paving invention for various pilot projects.
But the guys behind this great invention are not planning to stop here. They are now looking into other applications such as community storage systems, and improved paving system known as “infopavement”. In addition, they hope to transform the technology so that it can be used as solar building facade coverings.
The downside is that we don’t yet know when these pavers will go into mass production, but all hopes are there.
Image (c) Platio