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Power Science Technology

Use of Asphalt Paved Surfaces For Solar Heat 110

vg30e writes "It seems that a company in the Netherlands has found a way to use asphalt paved surfaces as solar heat collectors. Flexible tubes under the surface of the road collect heat from asphalt pavement using water as the working liquid. The heated water is stored underground for later use in defrosting the road, or heating buildings. With all the miles of highway in the continental US, this might be a viable way of collecting massive amounts of thermal energy."
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Use of Asphalt Paved Surfaces For Solar Heat

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  • by 2.7182 ( 819680 ) on Tuesday January 01, 2008 @07:25PM (#21877640)
    Physics professor Roland Winston, proposed this 25 years ago.
  • Nothing new... (Score:4, Informative)

    by tgd ( 2822 ) on Tuesday January 01, 2008 @07:42PM (#21877770)
    Its not uncommon for some very high end houses to do this during the summer and reverse the process (to keep the driveway ice/snow free) during the winter.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 01, 2008 @10:19PM (#21878652)
    Ha, yes well this was before I got a permanent pool, before I had one of those huge rubber ones with the inflatable ring on the top. It was fair sized about 3.5 feet deep mabey 16 feet across. In hind site it did wast a lot of water but that is quite cheep here in New England and it only cost about 600$ compared to the few thousand it cost to get a permanent one professionally installed.
  • by Mr. Slippery ( 47854 ) <> on Tuesday January 01, 2008 @10:48PM (#21878790) Homepage

    The idea of storing heat in the summer and cold in the winter is viable technically...To keep my house cool over the hot summer months would take many cubic yards of ice.

    Which is why you use the ground [] instead. It spends all winter getting cool and remains cooler than the air in summer; it spends all summer getting warm and remains warmer than the air in winter.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 02, 2008 @12:46AM (#21879436)
    The wiki article you link to describes heat pumps. A heat pump allows you to work against fifty degrees (approx.) rather than the ambient air temperature. That is really efficient for air conditioning. The only energy you need would be that required to pump air and water. For heating, you have to supply the energy necessary to get from fifty to seventy. (Yes, I realize the explanation is over simplified.)

    The idea of storing ice is that you have to pump much less water. You could do the thing in the other direction if you used a material with a phase change somewhere near eighty degrees ... now you're getting really expensive. Energy would have to get really expensive to make that worthwhile. Solar would be cheaper.

    If you have a source of ground water, you don't even need a heat pump to air condition. Lacking that, you need a bunch of piping. In that case the idea of storing ice makes economic sense.

Who goeth a-borrowing goeth a-sorrowing. -- Thomas Tusser