View Quadangles Print Version →


Read Class Notes Online →





Past Issues →




subscribeOnline picture



Advertise with Us →



Bookmark and Share



subscribeOnline picture RSS feed


Heat From The Street

Ever find your street so hot that you could fry an egg on it? A team of URI professors are interested in using heat from the pavement to power streetlights, melt ice, heat buildings, and illuminate signs.

“We have mile after mile of asphalt pavement around the country, and in the summer it absorbs a great deal of heat, warming the roads up to 140°F or more,” said K. Wayne Lee, professor of civil and environmental engineering and leader of the joint project. “If we can harvest that heat, we can use it, save on fossil fuels, and reduce global warming.”

With Chemistry Professor Sze Yang and graduate student Andrew Correia, Lee has identified four approaches.

One of the simplest is to hang flexible solar cells over the top of Jersey barriers to power streetlights and illuminate road signs.

Another practical approach would be to embed water pipes beneath the asphalt. The sun-heated water could be piped beneath bridge decks to melt ice and reduce the need for road salt.

A third approach uses thermo-electricity produced with semi-conductors when hot and cold temperatures meet. With thermo-electric materials embedded in the roadway, enough electricity could be generated to defrost roadways.

Perhaps the most futuristic idea is to completely replace asphalt with large, durable electronic blocks that contain solar cells, LED lights, and sensors.

Comments are open, but there are no comments.

Leave a Comment

Most comments will be posted within 24 hours of submission.

Spam protection by WP Captcha-Free

Web Extras

An ‘UGG’ly Affair

Get Paid What You’re Worth

Stu Fitelson ’55: Ageless Athlete

The President’s View



Tony Horton: The Face (and Body!) of P90X


URI’s Amateur Stock Analysts Impress Pros

Making URI a Place Where Everyone Feels Safe, Respected, and Valued

A Recipe for Success

Tucson Shooting Inspires Public Service

Art Heist Expert

News & Views

Alumni of the Game

Gulp! That’s Hard to Swallow

Graceful Cooking

Heat From The Street

Alumni Association Ram Award

Xeroxing Patents

URI Invents Fast, Inexpensive Blood Test

New Medical Physics Degree

Lorne Adrain ’76 to head Rhode Island Board of Governors

Press Box

Bissett Named Men’s Soccer Assistant Coach

Rae Adds to List of Academic Honors

Cloutier Earns Top Basketball Honors in Canada

Needham Named Women’s Soccer Head Coach

Rhody Football Earns 12 Spots on All-CAA Academic Team

Shoniker Named to Capital One Academic All-District I Team

Class Acts Profiles

Larry L. Voelker ’52

Dan Faggella ’09, ’10

Marlon Mussington ’01

David Bill, M.M.A. ’97

Heather Pacheco ’98

Katie Strauss ’09

Back Page

Focus on Nature

Alumni Chapters →


Big Chill Weekend 2011

Upcoming Events

GSO 50th Anniversary

Annual Scholarship Golf Tournament

50th Reunion and Golden Grad Weekend

QuadAngles © 2014 URI Alumni Association. All rights reserved. Produced by the Office of Publications and Creative Services for the URI Alumni Association, Alumni Center, 73 Upper College Rd., Kingston, RI 02881. Phone: 401-874-2242 | Contact Quadangles