I do a lot, and I mean a lot, of writing in support of the best looking indie video games that frequent crowd-funding website, Kickstarter. I fully support striving game developers in achieving their dreams, but most of the time, I enjoy rallying support just because I want to some sweet video games that are more reminiscent of the games I enjoyed when I was a kid.
With that in mind, here is a crowd-funding campaign that I almost feel obligated to tell you about, mostly because rather than me selfishly getting to play Shovel Knight or Heart Forth, Alicia, this one could actually end up saving the world.
Solar panel roadways.
Our concrete and asphalt streets have been sitting lazily for the better part of a century and not doing enough to aid in the battle of energy conversation. Sure, they provide a nice comfortable flat surface to drive on, but they soaked up heat, stink, must be repaired often, and they are getting a little boring to look at. Why not aid in changing all of this?
An adorable engineer couple has taken to IndieGoGo and asked for $1 million to help aid in starting their dream of creating solar panel roadways throughout America. With their estimation, they believe that if every concrete road in America were to be replaced with their hexagonal panels, we would be cutting greenhouse gasses by 75 percent and generating three times as much energy as we do now, and all of it would be 100 percent clean straight from the sun.
It already sounds a little too good to be true, but they claim their roads offer so much more than energy. Best of all they never have to be painted ever again thanks to LED lights installed in each individual panel. The self-powered lights can be used to light up highways at night, create more visible traffic lanes, adjust parking lots when necessary, and make the world look like an awesome science fiction movie.
They never have to be repaved either. We use a lot much money each and every year fixing our concrete roads, but these panels last longer and merely need to be swapped out with a new one if it shuts down or wears out over time. Speaking of which, each panel can be individually monitored, so maintenance workers will know immediately if a panel goes out.
Other perks include a huge boost in jobs throughout the country for infrastructure maintenance, installation, and operation. The panels are also pressure sensitive and can tell drivers to be careful of an animal or other obstruction that falls upon the road.
They generate self-powered heat in the winter to melt snow and ice, removing the need for expensive plowing. The energy they generate travels underground in a ditch alongside the road, eliminating the need for power lines. They are made from totally recycled glass. They can provide cheap aid to developing countries, and they can easily keep plug-in cars powered. Best of all, they are totally awesome to look at. Combined with wildlife crossings, our highways might be pleasant to look at again. What is the downside here? No more snow days? Sorry kids.
And no, Solar Freakin' Roadways is not the original pitch video. You can see that below.
Scott and Julie Brusaw have already been funded and fully supported by the U.S. Federal Highway Administration twice for research and development of their prototypes, so they have full confidence from the federal government. Their design has proven successful for both powering their house and driving their tractor on, and the $1 million is to begin independent production for local business parking lots, driveways, and basketball courts.
The Brusaws are hoping to start small and create momentum to success, so the $1 million is just a starting point. They succeeded in their goal with five days remaining, in fact the window has been extended in hopes to expand the scope of the project, every little bit helps.
It's a wonderful idea from people who seem genuinely excited to make their dream come true. Who knows how long it will take to get this operation up and running if they succeed, and who knows how long it will take before the usual suspects corrupt it, but it feels like an obvious step forward in keeping our planet and race chugging along for a few extra years. Be sure to check out the campaign if you get the chance.