Originally posted by yo its me
Oh. Sounds a really long way off then. Looked so promicing in that video!
Thanks for taking the time to explain it all Sonhouse
Another thing I see: It seems to me the actual cells would have to be responsive to the Infrared band of light, so the heating of the road would be converted into energy. If it had to be sensitive to visible light, it would have to be transparent and that would put whatever technology is used on top or underneath a transparent layer, the problem there being the loss of friction if the surface is smooth.
It doesn't sound compatible with concrete or asphalt. If it could respond to IR, some energy could be extracted on a hot day, there are thousands of miles of remote roads in Nevada, Arizona, etc., with little traffic but if it was in a remote area, wouldn't it make more sense to just build regular silicon cell based PV's off the road?
One big problem with national use of solar energy is the location of the most intense sunlight: In western states. There are thousands of square miles available but there is not the electrical infrastructure to carry the electricity to the big cities where it is needed so no matter how you generate your solar energy, if it is in the west where light is most intense, you have to build a large network of power lines in areas where none exist now. I mean the big guys, the half million to two million volt suckers that carry multigigawatts of energy.
The problem there is copper or aluminum has a certain loss per mile at a given voltage, which is a constant. So if you lose say, 100 volts per mile, if you start out with a 100 volt line you end up 1 mile later with practically zero energy, the rest having gone to just heat up a mile of line. But if you start out with 100,000 volts, the physics of it says you still lose just that same 100 volts, leaving you with 99,900 volts a mile later.
So if you start with 1,000,000 volts, 1 mile later you end up with 999,900 volts. Get the picture? The higher the transmission voltage the less the overall loss. So you could do say a long length of 10,000 volt line, you end up with 9,900 volts, which on a percentage basis loses a lot more energy than a 100 Kv line or a 1 Mev line. So to extract the maximum amount of energy and get it to where it is needed, you need to invest something like a half trillion bucks in new ultrahigh voltage lines going from the remote areas of the western states to the northern, southeastern and eastern states.
Another way to look at it however, from the roadway solar cell POV, could be to provide charge to some kind of electrical pickup, wireless, that connects the power generated by the road, directly to the cars which could be total electric, making them a bit like electric bus lines in major cities like in LA, (like it used to be anyway, till the money grubbing oil companies and bus makers and tire makers decided electric bus lines were just too darn efficient and in one of the really major corruption cases in the US, bought out the city managers and got rid of that dreaded efficient transport system and installed diesel powered buses, the oil companies loved it, the tire manufacturers loved it, the bus makers loved it but of course the air quickly turned foul, I was one of the victims of that air. LA managers now realize it was a corruption issue, of course the players are all dead now so they are rebuilding the original system).
So there could be wireless transmitters of energy that powers electric cars, it would take a strong engineering effort for sure, having to transmit 20 or more kilowatts to the car while it is driving. The only problem with that is you would not get much bang for the buck in remote areas, but only in towns so you are still left with the problem of transmission of energy from energy rich areas in the west to energy sucking areas in the cities. Back to building high voltage transmission lines
But the idea of transmitters giving energy to cars on the road could work in cities, but it would be a heck of an engineering feat.