Tecnalia through its Construction Unit, participating in the project ‘Pavener’, in order to develop a system for harnessing solar energy integrated into the asphalt pavement. The project, lasting two years, is led by Campezo group .
As reported in a statement, the system is to harness the heat energy accumulated in the pavement by solar radiation, by transporting a fluid through pipes beneath it. This method of energy use could be considered “a solar sensor built into the pavement.”
That system can be implemented on any paved surface exposed to solar radiation, such as roads, parking lots, or airports. Asphalt pavements can become heated to 70 degrees Celsius for days of strong sunlight. Given the large paved surface available energy recovery “has great potential,” said Tecnalia.
Integrating the system developed with thermal storage and heat pump, the accumulated thermal energy can be used in low temperature applications such as air conditioning in buildings, gymnasiums, swimming pools, or hot water.
Another potential application of the system is its use in winter to keep the asphalt temperature above freezing, preventing the formation of ice on roads. “Besides the benefit to road safety, it also decreases the amount of salt used for this purpose,” he detailed.
The system involves a reduction in fossil fuel consumption and a drop in emissions of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, using a renewable energy source. In addition, it reduces the necessary maintenance on roads. Both winter and summer temperature has a strong stable, which reduces the formation of cracks and grooves in the pavement, with a consequent reduction in their maintenance.
The Construction Unit is investigating Tecnalia thermal and mechanical properties of the system through simulations and experimental measurements in order to optimize its configuration in terms of its application. System performance will be studied after the construction of a prototype.