The black asphalt roads of urban centres are notorious for soaking up the sun, often helping make cities uncomfortably hot during the summer. Special piping technology from the Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Massachusetts, however, is offering a way to trap this heat and use it elsewhere, potentially transforming urban streets into giant solar collectors.
The idea is simple: the sun-warmed asphalt can be used to heat up water, which is pumped through tubes embedded a few centimetres below the road surface. This has the dual effect of cooling the asphalt, prolonging the lifespan of the road, and heating water which can be used either as is, or to produce electricity.
Wow – using hot roads to generate steam for electricity and heating. This is brilliant!