Author Topic: EEVblog #632 - Solar Roadways Are BULLSHIT!  (Read 286379 times)

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Offline hikariuk

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Re: EEVblog #632 - Solar Roadways Are BULLSHIT!
« Reply #275 on: June 25, 2014, 05:51:08 am »
Nice try guys, but no engineer would fall for that.

And the guy is an engineer. Either the worst engineer ever having managed to get an EE degree (unaccredited prestigious university anyone?), or a scammer.

University of Dayton (Ohio), apparently: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/University_of_Dayton
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Offline Legit-Design

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Re: EEVblog #632 - Solar Roadways Are BULLSHIT!
« Reply #276 on: June 25, 2014, 06:03:47 am »
But they claim he has some patents? Must be really smart to use money on patents? Or other peoples money?

 
Scott has multiple patents and his hardware and software have been sold internationally.
« Last Edit: June 25, 2014, 06:10:21 am by Legit-Design »
 

Offline Bored@Work

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Re: EEVblog #632 - Solar Roadways Are BULLSHIT!
« Reply #277 on: June 25, 2014, 06:28:58 am »
But they claim he has some patents? Must be really smart to use money on patents? Or other peoples money?

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Offline rob77

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Re: EEVblog #632 - Solar Roadways Are BULLSHIT!
« Reply #278 on: June 25, 2014, 06:32:54 am »
But they claim he has some patents? Must be really smart to use money on patents? Or other peoples money?

5,523,781     System for controlling television and billing for its use
5,124,795     Tier selection control for a television set

wow ! seems to be even overqualified for solar technology and road construction ;)
 

Offline hans

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Re: EEVblog #632 - Solar Roadways Are BULLSHIT!
« Reply #279 on: June 25, 2014, 08:30:11 am »
Max: fair point, excellent argument. This is exactly my point, that the video in question is NOT about that but about made up problems like the orientation of the LED, and this and that. If we don't want to do that because we rather spend the money on other things then fine.

If you give an engineer a job, he will know what will work and what won't. You will never hear a thing about stuff that works, maybe a little confirmation "yeah it's OK". Only things that don't work or aren't optimal need attention.

The job of the video is point out objections why such an idea would not work, and back ups with hard numbers to show it's not profitable.

Otherwise engineer would be a dreamjob for everyone.. to stare at things that work beautifully. Oh wait, maybe that's electronics as a hobby? :phew:

Quote
Sync: First thing what comes to my mind is the $40 million profit from a 150k stretch of road vs the $0 profit of an asphalt road.
As said, that's income, excluding costs.
If the whole cost (production + cost + maintenance) per sq meter would drop to 330$, you would still need 10 years for pay back.

That 330$/m^2 includes the cost of:
- Solar panel
- Inverter
- Glass
- Assembly & production of tiles
- Cables
- Digging a big damn hole + frame for the panels
- Installation
- Troubleshooting by trained people; remember.. electronics will never work in the field and need trained personnel to fix things.
- Transport of fragile care (glass is still glass)
- Maintenance materials + crew if something breaks (i.e. replacement panels & more troubleshooting)

At this moment an average solar panel costs about 250 euro/m^2, or 340$/m^2 in Holland.
The whole niche "product" around it just adds unnecessary huge costs, probably tumbling over the price a tenfold (costs per panel may be in the order of 1500-2000$ each, include profit margins, and you're pretty darn close to 5k$ per tile) before the bill has reached the government; i.e. the tax payer.

Quote
I understand the heating cost problem. In the video David is not talking about the heating cost at all. I understand that it's a lot of energy to heat something.

Using electricity, which is very high "quality" form of energy, to directly convert it into heat is just ridiculous.

Also roads are not isolated, so I'm pretty sure the heat will just very rapidly vanish and be gone.

Quote
About maintenance and replacement: current existing roads also have this problem without making a penny.
But aren't a few orders of magnitude more expensive.

[qoute]David: the other seemingly unbelievable projects are not related to the roadway project but to the attitude of your video and the general scepticism. if the solar roadway dudes (SRD) don't do research or delete comments or evil, then make a video about that.[/quote]
Meet Dave. If he rants, you're going to know it.

Doesn't surprise me at all. Engineers are maybe skeptical; maybe they are realistic.

Quote
You can challenge me all you want. I accept your calculations, they show that there's quite a lot of energy left even after the LED trick, + there's a huge return on that AND it surly will trigger unprecedented improvement of the solar energy technology.

Let me explain how stupid this idea of illuminating the whole inner and outer lanes with LEDs is.


How does the energy flow, ultimately? Solar - [Electronics] - LED. So we're capturing light, and then using that to power a light source. Great idea! :palm:
 
What about the efficiencies then?
I reckon a good solar panel tops at 18% (used in ideal conditions).
A typical cold-white LED emits about 20% of it's rated power as human perceivable light.
Include electronics; like MPPT and a LED driver for 95% each , and you get: 0.18*0.2*0.95*0.95=3.25% efficiency.

So every 1W of light emitted (which is not much), we need about 30W of raw solar energy. |O |O |O
Quote
I don't understand why you all worry about how much money they got. What dies it matter rom engineering point of view?

Because it's a hype. And I think many engineers don't do many hypes.

The concept is just fundamentally flawed, but they say it's all incredible, proven and will help save the planet. That's an illusion, lie and like fraud. Given the fact that they censor all forms of criticism confirms that.

Solar energy is great, and that's probably a big part of the hype, but the idea of:
- Placing solar panels at the most idiotic place you can put them, on the road, in the shade, flat on the ground, etc.
- Having to protect them from the harsh environment of having freaking 30+ ton trucks run over them. This adds unnecessary cost.
- Equipping with "gadgets" like LED illumination and heaters, which piss away all the energy it's producing.
- The ridiculous cost/income ratio that's off by probably not 1 but several orders of magnitude.

If you cover 1 km of solar panels, 8m wide.. you have 8000m^2 of surface area.
If you can get a field of 1km x 1km and dedicate that as a solar farm, the surface area of that is enough to cover 125km of road.
I believe America grows too much corn and soja in the middle of the states, where it's pretty sunny. Just trade that with some solar farms. Sounds like a much more durable plan.
 

Offline tom66

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Re: EEVblog #632 - Solar Roadways Are BULLSHIT!
« Reply #280 on: June 25, 2014, 09:57:07 am »
One comment about the inverter in each panel. Why not tie a long string of panels in series, say up to about 500V, then have a single inverter every so often?
Still expensive & impractical either way...
 

Offline WattSekunde

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Re: EEVblog #632 - Solar Roadways Are BULLSHIT!
« Reply #281 on: June 25, 2014, 10:10:52 am »
And think about the wild software dreams of "Solar FREAKIN' Roadways!". They are in a day dream like children adding endless ideas to an infinite wish list. This kind of dreaming is far from any realistic project management or engineering work. They totally ignore or underestimate the complexity of huge networked systems.  Beside all other physical and economical facts... :--
 

Offline deth502

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Re: EEVblog #632 - Solar Roadways Are BULLSHIT!
« Reply #282 on: June 25, 2014, 10:40:58 am »
Guys,

can you not come up with 10-15 examples to something that we have now and seemed impossible before? Do you need help?


time travel
flying cars
fountain of youth
true artificial intelligence
food in pill form
housing on mars
light sabers
laser guns
intergalactic travel
true perpetual motion
traveling at the speed of light.

oh, wait, no, those are things that seemed impossible that we CANNOT DO, because they are impossible, and if someone says they can, they are either scam artists, or complete fucking idiots. just like solar roadways.
 

Offline rob77

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Re: EEVblog #632 - Solar Roadways Are BULLSHIT!
« Reply #283 on: June 25, 2014, 10:46:00 am »
light sabres are possible ! just take some neon tube and go close to a high power RF transmitter  :-DD :-DD
 

Offline JoeO

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Re: EEVblog #632 - Solar Roadways Are BULLSHIT!
« Reply #284 on: June 25, 2014, 10:50:04 am »
People who are NOT Electrical Engineers are falling for this hook, line and sinker.  Read their comments here.

http://news.yahoo.com/solar-roadways-210149010.html?bcmt=1403655460174-57367c33-6b1f-4cf1-8d63-83976b1523b4
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Offline tom66

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Re: EEVblog #632 - Solar Roadways Are BULLSHIT!
« Reply #285 on: June 25, 2014, 11:55:48 am »
Solar roadways goes into the pile of "it'd be great if it were possible/practical/realistic/cost-effective" for me. From an immediate point of  view - why not use the road surface to generate power? It's only when you start realising you'd give everyone silicosis whilst burning money in the trillion dollar range to install it that you realise it might not be that practical...

It could have some applications, though - it might work in car parks which remain empty most of the year, and for some reason can't have canopies installed.
 

Offline DrGeoff

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Re: EEVblog #632 - Solar Roadways Are BULLSHIT!
« Reply #286 on: June 25, 2014, 12:08:01 pm »
Well designed solar farms are still going to be a better investment for power generation over solar roadways.

What problems do solar roadways really seek to solve?
Power generation is a by-product, and nowhere nearly as effective as a solar farm, so it is not solving any problems there. Dynamic lane markings are usually used in tidal flow situations, however that problem has essentially been solved with lane close signals and movable barriers (some automatic and some manual).

The durability and cost-effectiveness of current road surfaces and lane markings cannot be matched with glass tiles and LEDs, not to mention the safety and regulatory aspects of the latter.

Was it really supposed to do that?
 

Offline daqq

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Re: EEVblog #632 - Solar Roadways Are BULLSHIT!
« Reply #287 on: June 25, 2014, 03:12:13 pm »
Quote
One comment about the inverter in each panel. Why not tie a long string of panels in series, say up to about 500V, then have a single inverter every so often?
One of the issues raised by the whole concept is safety and what happens during extreme breakdowns - say, two trucks collide. On a normal road you get scratches in the tarmac, various destruction and damage to the road and all sorts of nasty. On a road with a 500V string of relatively hard voltage you can add electrocution to the list of fun joys. You can of course guard against it by mechanical and electrical means, which is another expense.
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Offline jimjam

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Re: EEVblog #632 - Solar Roadways Are BULLSHIT!
« Reply #288 on: June 25, 2014, 03:13:56 pm »
Well this guy will go down in history as the stupidest engineer, or as the most brilliant one. Edison too was ridiculed before he invented the light bulb didn't he? I'm not pro or against this solar dude. I can totally understand all the arguments presented here that says that it is stupid and impossible. Personally I think it's stupid to convert roads into solar panels, why not just build solar farms like what some people have said.
 

Offline IanJ

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Re: EEVblog #632 - Solar Roadways Are BULLSHIT!
« Reply #289 on: June 25, 2014, 04:02:58 pm »
People who are NOT Electrical Engineers are falling for this hook, line and sinker. 

The same people that think man never went to the moon or believes in 1000 other conspiracies no doubt..........

Ian.
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Manufacturer of the PDVS2
 

Offline Bored@Work

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Re: EEVblog #632 - Solar Roadways Are BULLSHIT!
« Reply #290 on: June 25, 2014, 04:08:04 pm »
Well this guy will go down in history as the stupidest engineer, or as the most brilliant one. Edison too was ridiculed before he invented the light bulb didn't he?

Edison didn't invent the light bulb. He bought existing patents and improved the design. If he personally did the improvements is also questionable. What he did is he successfully commercialized them.

But lets say it was Edison. What's the difference compared to solar roadways?

To make the light bulb successful Edison, and many light bulb inventors, improved material and procedures. They patented the improvements or published them so anyone could read and check them, and they demonstrated the improvements. Non of this has happened with solar roadways. They are build from existing components, with conventional techniques, and materials who's properties are well understood. So well understood that the claimed (claimed, not demonstrated) benefits of solar roadways can not be real with these materials and construction. They need improvements. But all the badly needed improvements and breakthroughs to make the idea work are yet to come. Currently it is just fantasy. It is all just it would work if ....

And some of the breakthroughs the Brusaw bunch needs, the "if ..." are violating the laws of nature as we currently know them. That is quite a big kind of breakthrough to hope for and bet the farm on. Like the solar panel efficiency breakthrough they need for generating the energy to make the snow melting work under realistic conditions. We are in perpetual motion land here.

Edison successfully demonstrated his bulb lasts a 1000 hours or so (don't quote me on the exact figures) under favorable but still realistic conditions. The First Church of Solar Roadways hasn't demonstrates so much as a single car driving over such a road in realistic conditions. I.e. including breaking.
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Offline gildasd

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Re: EEVblog #632 - Solar Roadways Are BULLSHIT!
« Reply #291 on: June 25, 2014, 04:22:49 pm »
A modular, "clip together", no tools needed, theft proof, "build in you field" solar power plant would be great.
- A farmer could decide to equip the side of a field access lane for one Km...
- A home owner has a big yard and want to put 10 panels.
- A NGO needs power in a remote project.
- A EEVblogger need one panel to run experiments...
- America invades some brown country with oil, but wants to limit the amount of petrol tankers they drive around.
etc

Each panel would have it's inverter, cooling, control system, connectivity, super caps, self diagnostic etc...
There would be modules with battery storage, WIFI, GSM telephone repeater, gun rack etc whatever the market needs.
Oh, and be child and pet proof...

Just go on amazon order 20 modules get them delivered flat-pack.
Use the app to find the best orientation.
Click them together.
Get an electrician to connect the 240/110V output to your meter and Bob's you uncle.

It would take clever engineering to get around the usual rules and regulation problems limiting a licensed electrician's role to a couple of hours or nothing.
I'm electronically illiterate
 

Offline hikariuk

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Re: EEVblog #632 - Solar Roadways Are BULLSHIT!
« Reply #292 on: June 25, 2014, 04:38:58 pm »
Guys,

can you not come up with 10-15 examples to something that we have now and seemed impossible before? Do you need help?


time travel
flying cars
fountain of youth
true artificial intelligence
food in pill form
housing on mars
light sabers
laser guns
intergalactic travel
true perpetual motion
traveling at the speed of light.

oh, wait, no, those are things that seemed impossible that we CANNOT DO, because they are impossible, and if someone says they can, they are either scam artists, or complete fucking idiots. just like solar roadways.

Depending on how you're defining "flying car" we actually do have a few of those, they're just not very practical or reliable (one of the big problems being you need both a driving licence and pilot's licence to use one fully).  I'm also not willing to call a couple of other things on that list "impossible", merely impractical with current technology; it's possible they're going to remain impractical too.

And I'd be inclined to put the solar roadway in the same category, it's not impossible.  It's just impractical.
I write software.  I'd far rather be doing something else.
 

Offline EEVblog

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Re: EEVblog #632 - Solar Roadways Are BULLSHIT!
« Reply #293 on: June 25, 2014, 09:19:11 pm »
This article clams that Bill Nye The Science Guy is a "fan" of Solar Roadways.
http://www.boiseweekly.com/CityDesk/archives/2014/06/23/idaho-solar-roadways-co-catches-attention-of-white-house-bill-nye
I certainly hope not...
 

Offline jimjam

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Re: EEVblog #632 - Solar Roadways Are BULLSHIT!
« Reply #294 on: June 26, 2014, 12:51:15 am »
I can just imagine people stealing the panels.... The next day the road is gone.
 

Offline rob77

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Re: EEVblog #632 - Solar Roadways Are BULLSHIT!
« Reply #295 on: June 26, 2014, 02:06:36 am »
I can just imagine people stealing the panels.... The next day the road is gone.

in some specific regions of Slovakia, those would be gone overnight (regardless of the length of the road)  :-DD those "guys" i'm talking about got no problem to steal several kilometers of cables overnight (they're salvaging and selling the copper). and i bet those "guys" are not just here in Slovakia :D
 

Offline Legit-Design

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Re: EEVblog #632 - Solar Roadways Are BULLSHIT!
« Reply #296 on: June 26, 2014, 02:55:42 am »
Those stealing these tiles could actually make use of them by removing the tempered glass and mounting them on solar tracking arms. They could actually have reasonable payback time this way. Yes, pointing solar panels somewhat towards the sun can have huge impact on their performance. Also removing tempered glass is ~10% increase that gets to solar panels.
« Last Edit: June 26, 2014, 02:57:40 am by Legit-Design »
 

Offline pickle9000

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Re: EEVblog #632 - Solar Roadways Are BULLSHIT!
« Reply #297 on: June 26, 2014, 03:06:50 am »
Has anyone seen this?

http://gigaom.com/2014/05/29/we-dont-need-solar-roadways-we-need-to-help-unleash-current-solar-panels/

The bit of note is:

"Brusaw told TechCrunch in a profile a couple years ago that their prototype project was expected to cost $10,000 per 12 foot by 12 foot panel, which is probably conservative because it was a projection by the inventor before it was implemented."
 

Offline deth502

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Re: EEVblog #632 - Solar Roadways Are BULLSHIT!
« Reply #298 on: June 26, 2014, 05:30:08 am »

Depending on how you're defining "flying car" we actually do have a few of those, they're just not very practical or reliable (one of the big problems being you need both a driving licence and pilot's licence to use one fully).  I'm also not willing to call a couple of other things on that list "impossible", merely impractical with current technology; it's possible they're going to remain impractical too.

And I'd be inclined to put the solar roadway in the same category, it's not impossible.  It's just impractical.

you are absolutely right, "impossible" was not the right word. impractical and improbable, and not mechanically or financially feasible and/or beyond todays technology. but the analogy still remains the same.
 

Offline Corporate666

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Re: EEVblog #632 - Solar Roadways Are BULLSHIT!
« Reply #299 on: June 26, 2014, 09:28:26 am »
I understand the heating cost problem. In the video David is not talking about the heating cost at all. I understand that it's a lot of energy to heat something. About maintenance and replacement: current existing roads also have this problem without making a penny.

David: the other seemingly unbelievable projects are not related to the roadway project but to the attitude of your video and the general scepticism. if the solar roadway dudes (SRD) don't do research or delete comments or evil, then make a video about that.

Your calculations what you've done from your chair show a $33 profit per m^2 which is a LOT.

With all due respect to you - because we don't know each other - there is a certain type of personality defect where people don't understand a thing but display a lot of arrogance in thinking they don't need to understand it in order to pass judgement on it, and naivete in thinking that all problems can be solved with sufficient time/money/effort.  There is a lot of that going around with "solar roadways", with non-engineers saying "well, we'll just find a way to solve those problems".

The laws of physics do not bend for any amount of effort or money.  They are immutable.  The problems that make solar roadways unfeasible are not problems that simply require time or effort to solve.  They are fundamental problems that render the whole idea useless.  Like personal flying cars... they will never happen for umpteen reasons that don't need to be explained.  It's no different with solar roadways - there are umpteen fundamental problems that make the whole idea non-feasible.

But the biggest one - and the one that Dave has hit on most... what is the connection between roads and solar power generation?  There is really NOTHING at all about roadways that make them a convenient candidate for solar power gathering.  They are often obstructed by cars, trees, road dirt and such.  Their orientation is massively inefficient for solar energy gathering.  And the problems of making solar panels transparent and able to be driven over are all manufactured problems... they are not problems that need solved other than because you want to put a solar panel under the road.  But why would you want to do that?   It goes back to the root problem - there is nothing about roads that make them ideal candidates for solar panels.  The heating and illumination factors are not "free" add-ons when making solar road panels - they are significant extra cost aspects of the design.  If we wanted to heat all our roads and have lights built in, we could do it now without the solar panels.

There are such huge technical challenges in taking two things that don't work well together and trying to make them somehow fit, that one really wonders how on earth this project got government funding in the first place.  It really is as harebrained as the office chair with built in toilet, or the in-dash microwave oven, or jetpacks to fly around town with, etc. 

It would be infinitely cheaper to just build giant arrays of solar panels close to distribution centers, and then install lights and heating into existing asphalt roadways. 
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