Collecting Heat Energy From Asphalt Studied

Spanish company Tecnalia has announced that they will be working to develop a system that can trap heat energy from the sun’s rays that are absorbed by asphalt paved surfaces. Part of a two year project led by the Campezo Group, Tecnalia hopes to find a variety of sustainable uses for their design. But because paved surfaces different wildly based on use, location, and structure, the construction unit of the firm will have to test several mechanical properties before being able to configure systems on a wide-scale.

Hoping to target roads, parking lots, airport runways and more, the research team has a challenging task of finding a commercially viable product that can be implemented by private and public contractors. So far, details about the system Tecnalia hopes to construct have been scarce. The group involved in the project, however, states that the design remains one of their top priorities.

Solar Roadways

image via Solar Roadways

The only specifics given by the company have been vague, but none-the-less interesting. The proposed system would operate using a series of tubes that would be installed under the asphalt paved surface. By circulating a chemically designed fluid through the series of tubes, Tecnalia’s system would trap solar radiation in the form of heat that could be then used as a source of energy.

Technically difficult as asphalt is poured at temperatures over 200 degrees, the novel concept system of tubes and fluid could have far reaching potential. Some paved surfaces reach over 70 degrees during summer months, and being able to transfer that heat, or store it for later use, could cut down on energy costs for indoor climate conditioning if implemented near buildings. For now, however, the best application for the experimental project would be for regulation of the asphalt temperature itself. By cutting down on access heat in the summer, and warming in the winter, the asphalt could maintain a less stressful norm, preventing unnecessary, and costly, maintenance.

Aaron Colter is a freelance writer and marketing consultant in Portland, Oregon. A graduate of Purdue University, he has worked for the NCAA, Dark Horse Comics, Willamette Week, AOL, The Huffington Post, Top Shelf Productions, DigitalTrends, theMIX agency, SuicideGirls, EarthTechling, d'Errico Studios and others. He is also the co-founder of BananaStandMedia.com, a free record label, recording studio, and distribution service for independent musicians.