Could roads and streets help power future vehicles?

New Road Energy Technology The next energy source for the future could lie beneath the very surface we drive on every day.

According to Oil, a group of scientists at the Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Massachusetts are developing a system that uses the heat roads soak up from the sun as a potential energy source.

The system uses a technology that pumps water through pipes that are buried a few centimeters below the road’s surface that generates electricity when it’s warmed. The technology can also help to keep the road surfaces cool and prolong the lifespan of the asphalt.

Rajib Mallick, the associate professor leading the team of researchers, said that their “preliminary results provide a promising proof of concept for what could be a very important future source of renewable energy,” reports Oil Price.

The idea, however, does face one huge obstacle, notes the Oil Price report, namely: cost.  Considering it’s hard to gauge what the actual return on investment would be to fully develop the technology, finding the potential investors willing to put up the money needed to install and maintain the pipes in the roads won’t be easy.

The Oil Price report also quotes Tim Anderson, a solar energy expert, saying that in most cases it’s unlikely that the temperature of the water would be high enough to make a good return on the investment.

Considering the amount of sunlight hitting the world’s roadways, how could it best be harnessed? Leave us your idea in comments.