Harvesting Solar Energy from Asphalt Pavement




Hossain, Md Fahim Tanvir
Dessouky, Samer
Biten, Ayetullah B.
Montoya, Arturo
Fernandez, Daniel

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This study aims at designing and developing a new technique to harvest solar energy from asphalt pavements. The proposed energy harvester system consists of a pavement solar box with a transparent polycarbonate sample and a thin-film solar panel. This device mechanism can store energy in a battery charged over daytime and later convert it into electric power as per demand. A wide range of polycarbonate samples containing different thicknesses, elastic moduli, and light transmission properties were tested to select the most efficient materials for the energy harvester system. Transmittance Spectroscopy was conducted to determine the percent light transmission property of the polycarbonate samples at different wavelengths in the visible spectrum. Finite Element Analysis modeling of the pavement–tire load system was conducted to design the optimal energy harvester system under static load. It was followed by the collection of data on the generated power under different weather conditions. The energy harvesters were also subjected to vehicular loads in the field. The results suggest that the proposed pavement solar box can generate an average of 23.7 watts per square meter continuously over 6 h a day under sunny conditions for the weather circumstances encountered in South Texas while providing a slightly smaller power output in other weather circumstances. It is a promising self-powered and low-cost installation technique that can be implemented at pedestrian crossings and intersections to alert distracted drivers at the time of pedestrian crossing, which is likely to improve pedestrian safety.



energy harvesting, pavement solar box, pedestrian safety, intersection, solar road, asphalt pavement


Sustainability 13 (22): 12807 (2021)


Civil and Environmental Engineering, and Construction Management
Electrical and Computer Engineering