The Dutch are known for their love of biking. Almost every city in the Netherlands is paved with kilometers upon kilometers of cycling roads. But for the Dutch, keeping healthy and reducing car traffic is not enough, a new project is trying to make these bike lanes into energy generating paths.
The project, known as SolaRoad*, has been developed by the TNO research institute along with the Province of North Holland, the Ooms Avenhorn Group and Imtech. It is currently slated to be constructed in the town of Krommenie, near Amsterdam. While the SolaRoad is still in the initial concept stage, it is expected to be finished in 2012.
The cycle path is made from thick concrete blocks covered with a 1cm thick layer of silicon solar cells. The photovoltaics are protected by tough glass, which allows cyclists to travel over them. SolaRoad is expected to generate 50 kWh per square meter per year. The electricity will then be used for street lighting, traffic systems, or household use.
The project is part of the North Holland government’s focus on sustainable energy, which envisions solar panels embedded in everything from phones to window panes to insect traps.
* not to be confused with Solarroad Technologies
by Itai Lahat
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