UK to test ‘solar road’ initiative

UK to test ‘solar road’ initiative
As part of pioneering worldwide trials the UK is to test new solar road panels, with the objective of one day being capable of powering homes and businesses across the country.

Developed by Colas under the project name ‘Wattway’, the solar roads will be trialled at various sites in Britain, the company has confirmed, as the nation steps up its efforts to provide clean, renewable energy alternatives.

Colas is already trialling Wattway in Tourouvre-au-Perche in North-Western France, installed over a one kilometre stretch of road. A number of UK-based clients are being considered as recipients of forthcoming trials, projected to happen in the first part of 2017.

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At its core, Wattway centres on photovoltaic road surfacing which is installed on top of existing roads. Despite being just seven millimetres thick, the technology has been designed to withstand the constant passing of vehicles running over it.

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It is secured to the road using a high-performance resin, while an extra layer of glass bead resin is also added to provide the right amount of friction for road users.

Remarkably, this is all said to come with a minimal impact on the efficiency of the actual solar panels.

The potential for Wattway is huge. Energy could be harnessed to power highways, together with other crucial elements of transport infrastructure, such as street lights, and motorway message signs.

The energy could also be returned to the National Grid and used to power homes and businesses in the surrounding area.

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Carl Fergusson, Colas Executive Director Strategy and Development, said: “Without doubt this is an extremely exciting time for Colas, and is a clear demonstration of our commitment to Research & Development.

“The UK trials will form part of about 100 trials taking place world-wide,” he confirmed.

Mr Fergusson added: “The trial sites allow us to experiment with the different ways to use this innovative technology and the feedback helps us to validate the most appropriate solutions for our market which will ultimately help build our offers for a full scale launch”.

Copyright Press Association 2016. Motoring News articles do not reflect the RAC's views unless clearly stated.