Turning the sun hitting the sidewalk hour by hour into an active one has been a goal experts have pursued for some time. Exactly for this, the company Eurovia launched Power Road, a system that turns any road, street or parking lot into an energy collector. In addition to maintaining the characteristics of the roadway, this innovation makes it possible to take advantage of the heat captured to heat homes or shopping centers, as well as to melt snow or to fight against dreaded heat islands.
To make these applications possible, Power Road goes through the installation of a heat exchanger under the road. Thus, at shallow depth and without being perceptible on the surface, the system incorporates pipes which allow the heat transfer fluid to circulate.
With that, Power Road, “The path of positive energy”, says its slogan, can function as a thermal energy collector or as a heat emitter. For this, this concept designed on the basis of integration requires, precisely, to be integrated. With what? It depends on how you want to use it. The options are varied and include solar heat pumps and low carbon heat sources.
The potential applications of this idea are numerous and range from single-family homes to sustainable neighborhoods, swimming pools, shopping malls or airports. In them, installing Power Road under the tracks would help melt snow and ice. Taking into account that the expenditure for these tasks in airport facilities is estimated at 10 million euros per year, the innovation could lead to significant savings.
In the case of homes or neighborhoods, the company specializing in the construction of transport infrastructure that launched this innovation ensures that 25 square meters of Power Road would cover 100% of a home’s annual heating needs of 70 square meters. If this is moved to an area of around 55,000 square meters, 4 kilometers of roadway equipped with this system would provide enough energy to supply hot water and heating to the entire area.
In addition to this use, which can be transferred to swimming pools, schools, offices, etc. this positive energy path is also useful for combating high temperatures. Thus, if it is used in “summer mode”, the energy is captured and stored underground for later use. Thanks to this heat capture, the roadway would be cooled and would help combat the urban heat island effect against which so many cities are seeking a solution. Among them, Los Angeles, who chose to paint the streets to refresh the sidewalk.
Power Road was put to the test in October 2014 and July 2017. The first test analyzed its behavior in melting snow and ice; while the second was installed in a car park south of Paris, where the energy captured by the system was used to heat a building located next to the car park.
With Power Road, Roads are still roads, but they are playing a new role in our transition to a carbon-free economy“, says Pierre Anjolras, President of Eurovia, on innovation. And this has already entered the commercial phase after the execution of the first project in August 2017. This consisted of installing the system in the parking lot of a school in the city of Pontarlier, where its function will be to guard the roads. and the bus station free of snow and ice.
More information in Power road.