Could Solar Bike Paths Pave the Way to a Better Future?
The first solar bike lane in the world has been built and will open to the public on November 12, 2014. The path, which connects Krommenie and Wormerveer in Amsterdam, the Netherlands includes a 70-meter stretch of solar-powered roadway.
This idea of solar-powered roadways has been explored in many different capacities. In 2009, the Netherlands Organization for Applied Scientific Research (TNO), the company providing the bike path, started to explore the idea of large-scale generation of renewable energy. With 450 km2 road surface hit by sunlight each day, SolaRoad’s mission is to absorb and convert that natural energy into electricity. This generated electricity can be used for street lighting, households, traffic systems, and even electric vehicles.
The current stretch is being monitored, and local government hopes to see the path extended to 100 meters by 2016. The road, made up of rows of crystalline silicon solar cells are embedded in the concrete and covered with a layer of tempered glass. This technology is a big step into the future of sustainable energy.
According to the SolaRoad website, lead Innovator Sten de Wit sees big things in the future of solar roadways and bike paths, “This could be a breakthrough in the field of sustainable energy supply. In particular, if the road concept will develop into a system, with which the generated electricity is transported to the vehicles driving on the road. Try to imagine that power will then be generated at the place where it is needed. Subsequently, a big step towards an energy-neutral mobility system will be possible.”