Updated: Monday, 22 Nov 2010, 8:02 PM EST
Published : Monday, 22 Nov 2010, 6:42 PM EST
SOUTH KINGSTOWN, R.I. (WPRI) - The winter driving season is right around the corner, which means snow, sleet and ice will soon be here to challenge your driving skills.
But, researchers at the University of Rhode Island are working to change that, by developing solar powered technology that will keep roads safer.
Scientists run a water-filled pipe through a model road. The sun heats the asphalt and the water running through it. That heated water can be pumped through the asphalt to keep it warm enough to melt any snow and ice.
Graduate student, Andrew Correia of Smithfield, says this a great way to use green technology without using toxic de-icing chemicals. "During the day is what we're aiming for in taking out the solar energy. At night is when we take the heated water from the day and put it back in the system itself."
The researchers think this system could initially be used to defrost bridges and overpasses.
Their funding came from Korea, but they're hoping for more local funding from the state. "If we could be the first state to come up with a costly effective construction method to de-ice without using de-icing chemicals... that's great," says professor, K. Wayne Lee.
Before this technology can be used on an actual road, it will have to go through some field testing. You could be driving on top of it, within the next 5-10 years.
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