China opens the way to the solar highway
Undisputed leader in the development of renewable energies, with nearly 40% of green energy in its energy balance according to the International Energy Agency, China is at the heart of sustainable development and does not stop in so good path.
As proof, the country has just inaugurated in January 2018, a highway like no other. This is the “Jinan Expressway”, the first solar highway ever completed. The city of Jinan, capital of Shandong Province, located 400 km from Beijing, has just set up a 2 km section equipped with photovoltaic panels on an experimental basis. This major project is being carried out by Qilu Transporation Development Group under the support of the Chinese government.
The production capacity of the runway amounts to one million kilowatt hours per year, the equivalent of the electricity consumption of about 800 dwellings over a total area of 5875 m2. However, the installations are here intended to supply electricity to video surveillance, signage and lighting of the roadway.
The highway screed has three layers, the first of which serves as insulation and protection against moisture, the second is made of transparent concrete and the last of course is characterized by photovoltaic cells.
The peculiarity of this technology is impressive. On the one hand, it would prevent the destruction of natural or agricultural areas to build solar farms. On the other hand, it would allow in perspective to recharge by induction the future electric cars as well as to melt the ice instantly on the road by processes of conversion of the energy into thermal heat which would limit the accidents.
Although it should be remembered, the solar roads are not dated today, the Netherlands had already tried the experiment in 2004 on a bike path equipped with solar panels, France also realized in 2016 in Tourouvre a solar road with a length of one kilometer.