Big Projects Start with a Big Ideas

This month we are continuing our series on BIG projects. All Big projects start with big ideas. As we prepare to share some of the world’s most fascinating projects with you in the coming weeks we wanted to start the month by sharing one big idea.

Roads, highways, and interstates line, intertwine and connect all across our country. We use them to get from one point to another whether its by car, bus, bike, or on foot. Now imagine if our country’s roads were solar powered. Solar Roadways is the big idea of Julie and Scott Brusaw, a married electrical engineer and counselor.

The idea behind Solar Roadways is to replace asphalt laden streets with the material used with black boxes, the recording device used on airplanes, that would house solar cells to collect energy. The Brusaw’s knew that black boxes protect sensitive electronics, why not also protect solar road panels? These panels could also be designed to include LED lights to illuminate roadways at night or a heat element to defrost snow and ice on the streets.

Ideas are great because they are about possibilities. Turning an idea into a reality is when ideas are tested against constraints: time, materials, construction and cost to name a few. The Brusaw’s have received the chance to take their BIG idea one step further. In 2009, they received a contract from the Federal Highway Administration  to construct a prototype for the first solar road panel. In 2011, they received another contract to complete a second phase of the prototype which will result in a parking lot made of solar road panels that can be tested with different weather and sunlight conditions.

While we will have to wait and see whether the Brusaw’s will be successful at achieving their dream of “upgrading our infrastructure – roads and power grid – to the 21st century,” we have to give them credit for having a BIG idea and taking it from possibility to real-world testing.

You can learn more about the BIG idea behind Solar Roadways in the video below.

Stay with us next week as we bring you more BIG ideas that are becoming realities.

Liz Faris, Account Manager
Collaborative Services, Inc.

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