Al­ter­na­tive sources

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - POST GRADUATE -

So­lar Road­way ( SR) pan­els are so­lar­pow­ered road pan­els that can be in­di­vid­u­ally pieced to­gether like a jig­saw puz­zle to form roads and park­ing lots.

Th­ese pan­els are fit­ted with LED lights that, when ac­ti­vated, form lane mark­ings or warn­ing signs.

SR pan­els are made with spe­cially for­mu­lated tem­pered glass that is durable enough to sup­port the weight of a 36- met­ric tonne truck. Dam­aged pan­els can be re­placed with new ones.

SR pan­els have tex­tured sur­faces that pro­vide trac­tion for ve­hi­cles. They con­tain mi­cro­pro­ces­sors that can be pro­grammed, mak­ing the pan­els in­tel­li­gent.

This al­lows the pan­els to com­mu­ni­cate with one an­other, the cen­tral con­trol sta­tion and the driver.

In fu­ture, the pan­els can dis­play road di­rec­tions for cars that have com­pat­i­ble tech­nol­ogy.

SR pan­els can also store and pro­duce power har­vested from so­lar en­ergy. They pro­duce enough power to re­place tra­di­tional power grids in small towns.

This elim­i­nates the need to build a power plant to sup­ply en­ergy to power grids, hence re­duc­ing the us­age of fos­sil fu­els.

So­lar Road­ways In­cor­po­rated, the com­pany that de­vel­ops the SR pan­els, has re­ceived sup­port funds of up to US$ 2.2mil ( RM9.1mil) from the pub­lic through crowd­sourc­ing web­site In­diegogo to fur­ther con­tinue the de­vel­op­ment and test­ing of its prod­uct.

With this amount of pub­lic and fi­nan­cial back­ing, we could be see­ing the mass man­u­fac­tur­ing and im­ple­men­ta­tion of SR

pan­els on road­ways in the near fu­ture.

Wind Trees are tree- shaped wind tur­bines de­vel­oped by French start- up com­pany NewWind. Each 26- foot tall Wind Tree is equipped with smaller, leaf- shaped wind tur­bines called Aeroleaf.

Up to 72 Aeroleaf can be in­stalled on the branches of a Wind Tree. The mech­a­nism in the Aeroleaf spins when it is blown by wind, gen­er­at­ing en­ergy.

Since Wind Trees are smaller than reg­u­lar wind­mills, they can be placed in towns and cities.

It only takes a small amount of wind for the tur­bines to func­tion, so even in cities and towns where much of the wind is cut off by tall build­ings, the Wind Trees can still har­vest enough wind to pro­duce en­ergy to power sev­eral low- en­ergy struc­tures in the vicin­ity.

Wind Trees were set up in Place de la Con­corde, Paris, for test­ing last year. It is be­lieved that the Wind Trees could go un­der mass pro­duc­tion start­ing from June of this year, but will only be used ini­tially in France be­fore the tur­bines are shipped to other coun­tries.

Wind Trees har­ness wind to cre­ate en­ergy.

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