Over the last few decades the world has seen a huge shift towards renewable sources. has been the big leader in that movement with wind energy not too far behind. The increase in solar electricity generation around the world has been dramatic but it’s not the only innovative way that solar power is being used. Cars, trucks and even airplanes have been totally powered by the sun in various researches done around the world. It seems solar power ingenuity is only limited to one’s imagination and creativity. Evidence of this has been shown by a research group from Scotland that has come up with a design for solar pavement tiles. 

Where did this creative idea for the design of solar pavement tiles corm from? It was developed by a five member research team that is headed up by Dr. Azmy Gowaid from Glasgow Caledonian University in Scotland. Additional support members of the research team hail from such places as Texas A&M University in Qatar and from Alexandria University in Egypt. 

What Is A Solar Pavement Tile?  

How do solar pavement tiles work? The tiles themselves measure about 10” x 10” x 1 ½” and are given strength by the outer few inches on them that is made out of heavy duty recycled plastic. As for the rest of the tiles construction that is an epoxy based type of material. Inlaid in this epoxy material are a concentrator lens and a small photovoltaic cell used to generate electricity from the suns powerful rays. 

The tiles themselves are said to be strong enough to use on any normal pedestrian walkway that is exposed to sunlight for at least part of the day. That makes them ideal for use in such places as universities, schoolyards and public squares. 

A Design Grant from the Qatar FIFA 2022 Organizing Committee 

How innovative of a design do others around the world see these solar tiles as being? Take the organizing committee for the FIFA 2022 World Cup. They wanted their games to be an example of how environmentally friendly these types of sporting events could be if effort was put into making them that way. As part of that they were offering a competition for grants on innovative ideas that could help make the FIFA 2022 World Cup more environmentally friendly. 

The group from Glasgow Caledonian University decided that they would submit a competitive pitch to try and help further their research by securing one of the $100,000 grants the FIFA 2022 organizing committee was offering. The organizing committee was so impressed with the solar pavement tile idea that they awarded one of the grants to the research group from Glasgow Caledonian University. 

With the grant the solar pavement tiles will be used as a test bed for the walkways around one of the 2022 World Cup’s game facilities. This will provide a unique opportunity to study how the solar panels function in a heavy use environment. These solar pavement tiles even have a built in cooling system that will help them withstand the extremely high heat often felt in Qatar. 

The Possibilities for Solar Pavement Tiles Seem to Be Unlimited 

It’s hard not to get excited over the possibilities these solar tiles offer if they have successful testing done with them. Take for instance if a major park in a big city replaced their existing sidewalks and bike trails with these new solar pavement tiles. Theoretically that could provide more than enough electricity to meet the parks total electrical needs for lighting, pumping water and powering support buildings. That would make parks around the world an even bigger part of a greener more environmentally friendly world. 

Here’s to Hoping These Innovative Solar Pavement Tiles Work 

It will be interesting to see the test results on not only how well these solar pavement tiles work but how well they hold up under foot traffic and adverse weather conditions too. As we have previously stated, if these solar pavement tiles work as intended they hold great promise. They could add significant small scale solar energy production in many places around the world that one never before suspected would be a possibility to house a solar electric generating source. 

 

 

 

Sources: 

http://solarbusinesshub.com/2018/05/25/solar-pavement-tiles-developed-by-glasgow-caledonian-university-to-be-demonstrated-at-2022-world-cup/

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