Author Topic: EEVblog #632 - Solar Roadways Are BULLSHIT!  (Read 285946 times)

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Offline station240

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Re: EEVblog #632 - Solar Roadways Are BULLSHIT!
« Reply #175 on: June 22, 2014, 03:32:32 pm »
Any rough numbers for the price of the glass (per square meter) they would need?

I've done some basic research on this, and it seems that $10/sqm is probably in the ballpark for suitable 16mm stuff in volume.
But they need the bumps and the roughening etc.

Was watching a documentary on the replacement World Trade centre tower, and the original plan call for prismatic glass for the bottom 3 floors. Which was made by machining bomb proof glass with custom made machines, at great cost despite the work being done in china. It was a total failure as the glass surface broke up into thousands of glass splinters when subjected the basic impact tests. So the idea of making special glass to better trap the light is a non starter too.

So having patterns in the glass to prove better traction is actually going to weaken the glass to boot.
 

Offline G7PSK

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Re: EEVblog #632 - Solar Roadways Are BULLSHIT!
« Reply #176 on: June 22, 2014, 06:18:14 pm »
There is one feature of the tiles and roadways that is not compatible. Flatness. The small area of concrete in their demo is easy to  trowel dead flat but long roads will be wavy in nature and even if troweled dead flat at the start will move with natural earth movements on a dead flat surface glass 2mm thick would support a tractor standing on it but as soon as the substrate is no longer flat there will be movement and cracking even if the glass is 12mm thick.
This idea of solar power from roads is not new by any means and I first read about the idea in the late 90's in I think Time magazine.
The idea was for city roads not rural roads, the problem here is of course most of the traffic will cover the road surface and shading from buildings, as soon as you go to rural roads the first two largely fade from the picture but then you get the problem of faster traffic with the increased impact loads the arise from speed, You only have to look along fast traffic lanes to see how what starts as a nice new flat surface rapidly become corrugated in nature whether made from concrete or tarmac.
Now if you put a roof over the rural roads with solar panels on them, but it would be a lot cheaper top just use a bit of land elsewhere, plenty of brown field sites in most country's.   
 

Offline SeanB

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Re: EEVblog #632 - Solar Roadways Are BULLSHIT!
« Reply #177 on: June 22, 2014, 06:39:58 pm »
Railways would benefit the most from a solar roof, as they already have the overhead support structures in place, along with a heavy power cable running along so all you need to add is the one conductor to an inverter unit every half kilometer or so. Will be easy to work as you can easily use existing rolling stock to add the required formworks to erect the support additions needed, and it will be no issue with land use as it is in an existing reserve, with the data comms cabling already being laid for control. Plus you have the existing power distribution infrastructure capable of handling the power already installed and paid for. Not a worry if it is taking power from the grid or feeding back in, the current is still the same, plus a train running along a section is going to be mostly solar powered during the day, so good transport efficiency. Panels just have to be high enough so that you can run a diesel loco under without the exhaust affecting them, and you will anyway need to clean them every so often, so can do this along with the routine track maintenance and checks.
 

Offline Bored@Work

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Re: EEVblog #632 - Solar Roadways Are BULLSHIT!
« Reply #178 on: June 22, 2014, 07:16:12 pm »
@MythBusters
Why didn't anyone think of this before? Solar-powered roadways that light themselves ?
Myth Busters jumped the shark a long time ago. These days they are just a TV show for adolescent youth who like to watch big explosions, big car crashes and excessive use of firearms.

Railways would benefit the most from a solar roof,
Since you can not properly guard long railroad tracks things will be stolen and vandalized in no time.

Which, if I think about it, will also happen to scammer's solar roadways.
I delete PMs unread. If you have something to say, say it in public.
For all else: Profile->[Modify Profile]Buddies/Ignore List->Edit Ignore List
 

Offline Kempy

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Re: EEVblog #632 - Solar Roadways Are BULLSHIT!
« Reply #179 on: June 22, 2014, 08:17:01 pm »
Dave has to manually clear it. Maybe they are doing this to make Dave's video less popular? Since youtube rates videos how many comments they get in the beginning and views and all that stuff. Even one way to attack someone might satisfy them.

It does not seem to be working - search YouTube for "solar roadways" and Dave's video comes out at number 3  :-+
 

Offline bitwelder

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Re: EEVblog #632 - Solar Roadways Are BULLSHIT!
« Reply #180 on: June 22, 2014, 08:23:59 pm »

Since you can not properly guard long railroad tracks things will be stolen and vandalized in no time.

Which, if I think about it, will also happen to scammer's solar roadways.
Another interesting scenario will be hacking into the LED lighting network inside the tiles and making it into a giant LED display.
 

Offline bitwelder

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Re: EEVblog #632 - Solar Roadways Are BULLSHIT!
« Reply #181 on: June 22, 2014, 08:31:17 pm »
My browser has the WOT (web-of-trust) plugin and if I google for 'solar roadways', the project website is reported as 'unsatisfactory' in trustworthiness, and their twitter account is downright marked 'scam' and even 'unsafe for children'.
 

Offline george graves

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Re: EEVblog #632 - Solar Roadways Are BULLSHIT!
« Reply #182 on: June 22, 2014, 08:43:51 pm »
Science.  Or lack of science in schools.  That's what we are really talking about here.  Aren't we?  That the average politician, average consumer, has no experience of science, or engineering.

This is what I find most depressing about the project. It's not that it's impractical and doomed to fail, it's that taxpayers' real, hard-earned cash, which could have been used to make the world a better place in some way, was allowed to be spent on it.

That's a colossal red flag IMHO. It absolutely screams out that nobody in government, who has the authority to decide where and how money is spent, has enough of a clue to spot BS even when it's so obvious.

It should be a warning to us all. The people whom we entrust with our money are not the best and brightest, they're obviously clueless.

Glad at least one person got it.

Offline EEVblog

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Re: EEVblog #632 - Solar Roadways Are BULLSHIT!
« Reply #183 on: June 22, 2014, 08:53:34 pm »
It does not seem to be working - search YouTube for "solar roadways" and Dave's video comes out at number 3  :-+

Yep, #3 at present, although probably because it's new and trending. Will be interesting to see where it settles down.
 

Offline EEVblog

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Re: EEVblog #632 - Solar Roadways Are BULLSHIT!
« Reply #184 on: June 22, 2014, 09:51:06 pm »
A representative cross section of the society is elected (yeah right!) to run things according to how people want.
I wish it were true.

It's impossible I suspect, due to the fact that any politician, no matter how honest and well intentioned, simply cannot get feedback from all of their constituents on every issue.
And realistically they get elected on just a couple of major issues, so you have no idea what their stance is on the maybe hundreds of laws voted on and passed each year. So you have to select one based on those few big issues and maybe some other traits, and hope that they do a good job overall.

If there was a way for politicans to get instant feedback from majority of constituents easily on every issue that that comes up, then that would be true democracy. Although if such a system was possible, then there would be no need to said politicians, just a bunch of civil servants to make it all happen.
 

Offline AndyC_772

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Re: EEVblog #632 - Solar Roadways Are BULLSHIT!
« Reply #185 on: June 22, 2014, 11:03:37 pm »
Party politicians are supposed to represent the desires and priorities of the electorate... should taxes be higher or lower, should investment go into schools, hospitals or industry, should we go to war, that sort of thing. Those are the types of question where peoples' personal opinions are important and need to be represented.

However, one of the reasons I like science so much, is that it's not subject to opinion. Science facts are science facts. They don't change to suit whatever is politically fashionable at the time, and they're absolutely the same for everyone, everywhere, all the time. Technical progress may over time open up possibilities, but it can never change fundamentals - like, for example, the amount of energy that reaches the earth from the sun.

It follows from this, that decisions about whether a science project can ever work or not, can also be made in an absolute sense, by experts. Solar roadways should never have reached the point where some elected official can decide they look cool and deserve investment, they should have been thrown out before ever getting that far - not because of anyone's personal opinions or priorities, but because in a scientific, objective, quantifiable sense, they won't work.
 

Offline HackedFridgeMagnet

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Re: EEVblog #632 - Solar Roadways Are BULLSHIT!
« Reply #186 on: June 22, 2014, 11:16:11 pm »
Ignore if some has mentioned this already.

Gotto fix that maths Dave.
150W/m2 and
10% loss
10% loss
20% loss.

is 150 x 0.9 x 0.9 x 0.8 = 97.2 Watts/m2 not 90.

Dont worry I made a mistake today, Parking meter at $2.20 an hour.  For some reason I put in $1.00 and expected to park for close to an hour.
The parking lady corrected me with a parking fine.  :(
 

Offline deth502

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Re: EEVblog #632 - Solar Roadways Are BULLSHIT!
« Reply #187 on: June 23, 2014, 12:36:57 am »
first off let me say i think solar roads are 100% complete and total bullshit.

however, watching daves video, when he mentioned the shallow viewing angle, i had a thought. in the other thread on this it mentions how teh glass would likely need "bumps" for traction like those annoying inserts they are putting at every sidewalk intersection now (in the us). nw, what if each of these "bumps" served as little turrets to house a set of leds peering off in 4 (or at least 2) directions.** that would/could solve the shallow angle view ability problems.

dont get me wrong, im not saying that in itself is a good idea at all, as im sure the glass turrets would wear quickly exposing/destroying the led's. HOWEVER, what this lead me to think is that maybe, just maybe,  this guy has some super duper new tech in mind that hes just not hinting to or trying to unveil yet with the demo models/videos that could actually make this feasible.

i kind of doubt it, but just in case, i think i will be watching the progress on this now. hes already got his millions of $$$$ for r&d, so the ball;s in his court.



** led traffic lights ARE also directional. and have a life expectancy of "at least" 5 years.
 

Offline stenor

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Re: EEVblog #632 - Solar Roadways Are BULLSHIT!
« Reply #188 on: June 23, 2014, 12:51:31 am »
I think they should spend the money planting trees instead. THAT's Solar Power!
« Last Edit: June 23, 2014, 12:53:23 am by stenor »
 

Offline SeanB

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Re: EEVblog #632 - Solar Roadways Are BULLSHIT!
« Reply #189 on: June 23, 2014, 01:17:01 am »
** led traffic lights ARE also directional. and have a life expectancy of "at least" 5 years.

You mean like this one?
 

Offline G7PSK

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Re: EEVblog #632 - Solar Roadways Are BULLSHIT!
« Reply #190 on: June 23, 2014, 02:35:02 am »
I have seen some LED road studs on the M11 they certainly show up at night but in day time they look much like any other white road stud, the led's are set at an angle so that at 50 meters or so a car driver is pretty well looking straight at them, don't know if they show up any better than the old fashioned cats eyes though.
 

Offline Legit-Design

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Re: EEVblog #632 - Solar Roadways Are BULLSHIT!
« Reply #191 on: June 23, 2014, 05:34:33 am »
Was watching a documentary on the replacement World Trade centre tower, and the original plan call for prismatic glass for the bottom 3 floors. Which was made by machining bomb proof glass with custom made machines, at great cost despite the work being done in china. It was a total failure as the glass surface broke up into thousands of glass splinters when subjected the basic impact tests. So the idea of making special glass to better trap the light is a non starter too.

So having patterns in the glass to prove better traction is actually going to weaken the glass to boot.
Yeah, mythbusters has done minimum of two episodes about bullet proof glass. It all started when Jamie said that this blast shield is bulletproof. What he meant that it need to be laminated with that plastic and tempered glass in several layers. It's only bulletproof/blast resistant once. If you break bulletproof/blast resistant glass you will have broken glass.

Asphalt on the other hand, as Thunderf00t clearly demonstrated while talking about the subject, is actually self healing.
 

Offline open loop

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Re: EEVblog #632 - Solar Roadways Are BULLSHIT!
« Reply #192 on: June 23, 2014, 05:47:31 am »
I think we need to add number 6 to the list of issues.

Issue 6) Maintainability!
This has been touched on before with previous posts, given the skill level needed for repair and the issues with new tiles being placed next to worn tiles. The real issue with a lack of funds with the local authorities not to mention that lack of energy production when the road is "down". Imagine what the tech would say at the maintenance center "I just need to reboot the M25 in the UK (or Interstate 405 North Hills CA) as we don't have road markings!".

Besides the maintainability it's a non starter anyway up there with the bomb detectors sold by a British guy to the Iraqi Government: see the following link from the BBC for more information.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-22380368

As was pointed out by George Graves the issue is basic science education with the schools and those who vet the way public money is spent.

Ok, ok.  Yea.  You guys LOVE to argue the tech specs of anything... 

BUT....All the technical details aside....I think Dave did a great job at the math.  BUT - to the consumer, he/she will put that aside and just call you a "Hater" - it was totally unconvincing to them - so a great job for nerds!  But to the the backers - that video will fly right over their head.  Hater's gonna hate!

I hope you all take a moment and thing about what the real issue is.....Let's step back and look at the bigger picture.

Science.  Or lack of science in schools.  That's what we are really talking about here.  Aren't we?  That the average politician, average consumer, has no experience of science, or engineering.  No clue how to do basic unit conversions (I didn't see anything in Dave's math that wasn't a factor, or a unit conversion - correct me if I'm wrong - basic stuff)

It's easy for science/engineering minded people like us to look all high and mighty over our friends/co-workers on a topic like this.  (some of you seem to revel in the fact you know more than your non-science friends)  Well, shame on you I say!  Stop patting yourself on the back, and start talking about the need for science in the classroom.  You know, in a non-I-m-smarter-than-you kind of way.

/end rant.

Another issue is how the media responds when an "Expert" comes up with a crack pot idea, the media jump on it and spread it if is fact. Remember the fiasco that was created by Dr Wakefield with the MMR link to Autism, which was dis-proven and he was struck off by the GMC, see Ben Goldacre's book "Bad Science" for more details. The media should have been blamed for a large part of the damage caused.

We (the professional engineers)have a reputation of being like Sheldon from "The Big Bang" Comedy series in the eyes of the media. Possibly because the people in media did non science subjects, find it difficult to understand engineering and science and try to promote a stereotype for many parts of society.

Well that's my thoughts...
 

Offline deth502

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Re: EEVblog #632 - Solar Roadways Are BULLSHIT!
« Reply #193 on: June 23, 2014, 06:29:00 am »
** led traffic lights ARE also directional. and have a life expectancy of "at least" 5 years.

You mean like this one?

let me add a note

all of the traffic signals i maintain, and all of them in the tri-county area at least (involved in a govt co-op to buy them) are rated for "at least 5 yrs" and are directional.

we do not use, and (through my state dot anyway) the use of those type signal lights is not recommended. you will see that with those gen-1 lights that used a face of led's. the newer gen 2 lights have an array at the back of the collector and a diffusing lens up front, so you will never notice any dead pixels in one like the image you have shown, the light will just appear dimmer and dimmer should any individual led's burn out. i cant go into any more detail on one, as ive never torn one apart yet to see EXACTLY what its made of. if theres interest, maybe i could "liberate" one and bust it open. (they are a completely sealed unit)
 

Offline xDR1TeK

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Re: EEVblog #632 - Solar Roadways Are BULLSHIT!
« Reply #194 on: June 23, 2014, 10:49:50 am »
Dave face-palm is an indicative sign alone.
Solar Roadways is a major engineering fail.....
 

Offline ttyler333

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Re: EEVblog #632 - Solar Roadways Are BULLSHIT!
« Reply #195 on: June 23, 2014, 12:47:08 pm »
There's a video with the tractor moving on the glass.  As well based on the video i counted 50 LED's..  Definitely a waste of power/money.
 

Offline nitro2k01

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Re: EEVblog #632 - Solar Roadways Are BULLSHIT!
« Reply #196 on: June 23, 2014, 02:58:31 pm »
A parody of thunderf00t's rebuttal.

Whoa! How the hell did Dave know that Bob is my uncle? Amazing!
 

Offline Legit-Design

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Re: EEVblog #632 - Solar Roadways Are BULLSHIT!
« Reply #197 on: June 23, 2014, 03:32:04 pm »
Better comparison would be flying cars. Everyone flies in their cars because they poured lots of money into those many years back.
 

Offline rob77

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Re: EEVblog #632 - Solar Roadways Are BULLSHIT!
« Reply #198 on: June 23, 2014, 07:59:40 pm »
A parody of thunderf00t's rebuttal.


the problem here is not the "impossible in the future"... the problem is their claim to make with today's technology ! and the fact they're ignoring/deleting all the relevant questions.

if someone asks for grant to do some "weird looking" research which will possibly result in some new technology in the future - that's just ok.. (if there are excess funds to support that kind of research).

but if someone claims that he developed something and he needs funding for production - and actually his "invention" can't work with current technology.. then that's a big problem !

apparently the author of the video overseen the facts around the "solar roadways" and their "inventors".
 

Offline max_torque

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Re: EEVblog #632 - Solar Roadways Are BULLSHIT!
« Reply #199 on: June 23, 2014, 08:19:08 pm »
Thing is, "possible with future tech" simply doesn't matter in this case, as even if some material becomes available that makes these solar roadway panels technologically feasible, they still won't be economically viable! 

This is because fundamental physics isn't going to change "in the future" and it will still be cheaper, and provide a large return on your investment, to just put normal solar panels on roofs / in fields & deserts etc!

For example, public supersonic air transport was made technologically possible in the mid 1970's (that's 40 years ago), and since then, aircraft technology has taken a quantum leap forwards, and yet, where are all the supersonic airliners today?  yup, there aren't any. This is nothing to do with the absence or presence of technology,a and everything to do with practical economics!

IN 2050, putting solar panels under roads will still be a really silly idea, when for the same financial outlay, you could put probably 10x as many panels in a field next to the road, and those panels would probably return something like 3x as much energy (because they can be heliostatic and not have to be protected from vehicle traffic).  That means you get 30x as much energy back for your cash (10x more panels, each being 3x more efficient), and chances are, they would be significantly cheaper to maintain etc (further improving your ROI)

So, if i said today, give me $100, and i'll give you $30, you would say. er, "no thanks" and if i ask the same question in 2050 (when we will all have flying cars, and robots and stuff?.  Well, you would still answer "no thanks"!

Fundamentally, this is why pure engineering in itself is no indicator of the viability of any given project. (Betamax VCR anyone?)
 


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