In Germany- they want to use highways to generate 200 TWh of solar energy per year
The photovoltaic potential of the various man-made infrastructures is enormous but still vastly underutilized. In Germany, a project intends to use motorways as electricity-generating elements.
Solar energy leads the field of renewables and roofs and roofs, it is already expanding into the sea and the countryside through floating panels and solar farms, some of them agro voltaic.
However, there is still solar potential in many other places and infrastructures are some of them. For example, the highways which cover thousands of kilometers connect the various towns of each region and country.
In Germany, there is a project that aims to achieve just that. And, for this, it has created the so-called energy bands.
These are formed by a steel structure that includes support masts every 15 meters. The photovoltaic panels that are responsible for producing electricity are installed in them.
The Altes Neuland Frankfurt Foundation has developed the project and argues that if 80% of motorways and 65% of federal highways were equipped with bifacial panels with 25% efficiency, up to 200 TWh could be generated each year (35 % of total consumption in Germany today).
Although the substructure made of steel mesh masts exceeds the costs of conventional substructures, its creators say that the masts would have a useful life of 100 years, and new modules can be added at little cost.
That is how the solar bands of the Altes Neuland Frankfurt Foundation would work.
The idea originally arose from the space requirements for photovoltaics and wind power, and the area required for expected to occupy 2.5% of the German federal territory.
The power bands consist of a direct current system, requiring the subterranean installation of a 110 kW high current cable and several grid connections.
The biggest advantage of such a system is that electricity is distributed during production and routed to the right places, connecting metropolitan areas, industrial areas, and airports.
In addition, charging infrastructure for electric cars and trucks has been planned along long-distance routes. The power bands would stretch for hundreds of kilometers, allowing fluctuations in power consumption and generation to be balanced across the system.
A viable project yet to start
Peter Birkner, a professor at the Bergische Universität Wuppertal specializing in electrical power supply, has been supervising the development of the project and the feasibility study as a member of the scientific advisory board.
After careful consideration, he is convinced of the feasibility of the project and stresses the importance of assembling an appropriate consortium to initiate the development of the first section.
Although it is not known how long it will take to form such a consortium, the authors of the project state that potential investors should not worry since all the technologies are already available on the market and thoroughly tested.
According to the foundation, The required modules, steel pylons, and subterranean cables according to the foundation, have been in operation for many years.
The expansion of energy networks could start on a small scale without a large infrastructure project. Municipalities and investors could collaborate in the development of small sections that can be joined later.