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comment by kleinbl00
kleinbl00  ·  769 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Water is wet, fire is hot and the Solar Roadway is a complete disaster

I'm pretty sure the post veen linked is the one that made theadvancedapes mute me. Fans of technology rarely like to hear why it will fail.

Odder  ·  769 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I think the preposterousness of solar roadways might be why it got so much crowd-funding. Blindly optimistic people often think that those who are dismissive of a new idea are just cynical, since the optimists can remember all the stories of successful technologies that were dismissed by experts when they were first proposed. Of course, they don't hear about most of the dumb ideas that never got any funding. And sometimes, experts are too dismissive of ideas that are only moderately stupid, so there's no language to properly quantify that while expecting a self-sustained fusion reactor in the next five years is dumb, that everything to do with Solar Freakin' Roadways is really, really dumb.

goobster  ·  769 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I pitched a couple of bucks towards the project because I saw several other implementations of the exact same ideas work at Burning Man... a pathway that was lit by solar power, reacted to people walking on it, and involved interesting materials, science, electronics, and human interaction.

And two of those projects survived the highly alkaline desert environment, and went back to Burning Man several times.

So yeah... the technology works. It's not magic like cold fusion.

But like I said in my other comment, I always saw this as a pedestrian thing, maybe with limited use on non-commercial-vehicle roads (like bike paths, parking lots, etc.).

So yeah. I have seen similar projects work, and work pretty well. I was hoping that instead of an "artist" building an "art installation", something with proper funding would come up with something more resilient and commercially viable.

I still hold that hope.

Hell... how long has Moller been at it?

Odder  ·  769 days ago  ·  link  ·  

    So yeah... the technology works. It's not magic like cold fusion.

Yeah, I don't doubt that. i know that just because these guys failed at the tech doesn't mean it can't be done. But I'm more concerned with the cost per mile compared to the power generation per mile, and the fact that you could get a whole lot more energy for a whole lot less cost by putting the solar panels next to the road rather than on it. It's probably a cool engineering challenge to make a waterproof solar panel that can withstand heavy loads, but it's not something that anybody ever asked for, and other than the "we're going to do this because we can" it doesn't have any practical purpose.

So we could dump a ton of this nation's wealth into solar panels that you can walk on or drive on everywhere, but we'd bankrupt ourselves doing it and we wouldn't even have very reliable power generation from it, either. Meanwhile, if we invested a ton into putting solar panels in all of that cheap land that's for sale in the desert and more money into bring the cost per watt down and the overall lifetime of the panels up, we could make a ton of money, have reliable cheap power generation, and not have to worry about buying oil from people who hate us anymore.

kleinbl00  ·  768 days ago  ·  link  ·  

There's a difference between exhibition-grade technology and installation-grade technology. I remember at InfoCOMM 2001 Pioneer made the entire floor of their booth out of 42" plasma TVs covered in Lexan. It was damn impressive. it dusted the shit out of the magic floor in Saturday Night Fever. And it only lost a panel or two over the space of three days. Of course it works. It's damn solar panels. We've been launching them into space for over 60 years. What's increased over the past six decades isn't so much "technology" as "technological hubris."

"Temporarily babysat for a week at a festival" has virtually nothing to do with "Permanently installed at an unmanned location". You can do all sorts of dumb shit when the install doesn't have to outlive an open container of yogurt. Things get a little dicier in the land of "light fuse walk away."

As an aside, this is the first time I've seen Moller held up as a positive example of anything.

goobster  ·  766 days ago  ·  link  ·  

    There's a difference between exhibition-grade technology and installation-grade technology.

Yup. And that's exactly the point I made, that nobody seems to be getting.

Meh. I don't actually care enough to type any more on the subject.