Thursday, 14 January 2010

Treat roads for ice whilst the sun is shining

The chaos on Telegraph Hill highlighted the old problem of grit lorries not being able to get to areas blocked off by accidents caused by the ice they have come to clear. Devon's greenest councillor Gordon Hook thinks he may have an answer. Gordon wants to the County Council to recycle summer sunshine collected by Devon's roads and use it to keep them ice-free in winter. Gordon has been looking at an experimental scheme that uses pipes installed underneath a section of road to gather solar energy in summer and recirculate it in winter.

The technology is known as interseasonal heat transfer, or IHT. Scientists believe the IHT could be a way to treat the roads which are the first to freeze, and to heat and cool buildings, cutting energy bills and lower greenhouse gas emissions. In summer, when road temperatures can reach 40C, the water is warmed and pumped to pipes insulated with polystyrene. In winter, when sensors detect the temperature at 2C, warm water is pumped back under the road to heat the ground and prevent ice forming. IHT technology has been the subject of a two-year trial on a little-used access road on the M1 by scientists at the Transport Research Laboratory.

More information about Interseasonal Heat Transfer can be found here:http:

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