Solar-panel Pavement made from recycled plastic
Slowly but surely, there is an increase in the amount of solar energy used. Here at Materia, we have discussed all kinds of innovations in this area, from solar balloons harvesting energy above the clouds to solar and wind generating fabric, and from spray-paint solar cells to transparent solar windows. Innovations include motorways paved with solar panels, such as Wattway in France and the Solar Highway in the US. Another kind of road can now be added to the list, namely, the pavement. An Hungarian company called Platio developed pavement tiles with solar panels integrated into them, made from recycled plastic.
The system consists of monocrystalline silicon cells inside tempered glass, which is backed by recycled plastic to protect the panels from environmental forces and the pressure of people walking on them. They mainly use fibre reinforced plastic, but in the future they plan to use other kind of plastic materials, such as PET.
The units are modular and connect without additional wiring by a power-line-based communication system that is installed along with the panels, the company says. Thanks to the very compact design of the current prototype, the company states that the nominal performance of one square metre area has a peak of 160 Watt.
The panels come in different sizes and colours, including red, green, and blue, for a customisable look and installation.
Platio is also working on tiles that can harvest kinetic energy, from the footsteps of people walking over them, and on a way to display images in the pavement through holographic technology. They also plan on entering the market of façade coverings, as the panels are lightweight and suitable for vertical installation.