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Powering Households Through Green Highways

By Sofi Niño de Rivera - Aleatica
Global Innovation Specialist


By Sofia Niño de Rivera | Global Innovation Specialist - Wed, 02/08/2023 - 11:00

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It is estimated that around 500,000kWh are needed daily for a 100,000 population, which electric vehicles (EVs)and hybrid EVs (HEVs) can generate by circulating 15km per car. What? Is that even possible? It is!

Green highways, also known as sustainable or eco-friendly highways, are a relatively new concept in transportation infrastructure. These highways are designed to minimize their environmental impact, often through renewable energy sources and other sustainable technologies. Currently, there are a limited number of green highway projects worldwide; therefore, it is hard to find specific numbers regarding the benefits of these projects. However, here are some examples of the benefits that have been reported from a few green highway projects: 

In the Netherlands, the SolaRoad solar bike path generated 3,000kWh of electricity in its first year of operation, enough to power about three households for one year.

In the US, the state of Oregon installed a 1-mile green highway on a stretch of I-205 near Portland, which reduced stormwater runoff by 80%.

In China, the Green Great Wall project, which aims to plant 100 billion trees by 2050, has already helped to reduce dust and particulate matter in the air by more than 30% in some areas.

In India, The Green Highways Policy of the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways has set a target of planting 5% of the total project cost of the National Highways (NHs) on the central verge, median, and other available lands along the NHs.

In the UK, The Highways England Eco-Driving project aims to improve air quality by reducing vehicle emissions.

These numbers represent just a tiny sample of the potential benefits of green highways, and more research and data are needed to understand their full impact. It is worth noting that most of these projects are still in the testing phase, and the benefits still need to be fully quantified.

The evolution of green highways has been driven by a growing awareness of the negative impact traditional transportation infrastructure can have on the environment. This has led to an increasing demand for more sustainable alternatives, and many governments and organizations worldwide have begun to invest in green highway projects.

One of the most notable examples of a green highway is the A35 Brebemi in Italy, also known as the Brebemi highway. This highway is being built with a unique feature that allows E.Vs to charge electricity for their batteries and provide green power to the engine while in movement. This is made possible using dynamic wireless power transfer  technology. The A35 highway is also being designed to include various other sustainable features, such as solar panels and wind turbines, which will generate renewable energy to power the roadway, and it is looking to do so for nearby communities. Additionally, the road will be built with a rainwater harvesting system and water treatment, allowing water reuse for irrigation and other purposes.

Yes, you read that right. Brebemi is going above and beyond all the environmental transformations we heard of, including the soon-to-be safest fluorescent paint for highways at night introduced by the Aussies. We are talking about the possibility of generating electricity for both the highway itself and nearby communities. It could become the introduction of a circular economy in the infrastructure world. And not just that, a disruptive substitute of artificial electricity to begin with.

The future arena project of the A35 Brebemi highway is also expected to further reduce the environmental impact of the highway by providing a space for events and activities that promote sustainable transportation, such as electric vehicle charging stations, bike-sharing programs, and carpooling options. Overall, the evolution of green highways is an exciting development that has the potential to significantly reduce the environmental impact of transportation infrastructure. The success of the A35 Brebemi highway in Italy, with its unique future arena project, is a prime example of how sustainable technologies can be integrated into transportation infrastructure to create more sustainable and livable communities. The project was built between Brescia and Bergamo in the Lombardy region of Italy, and it was opened to the public in 2018 with a notorious game-changing strategy.

One of the main features of the A35 Brebemi green highway is the use of sustainable materials, such as permeable pavement and recycled materials, which are designed to reduce the environmental impact of the road. The highway also incorporates green infrastructure, such as rain gardens and wildlife crossings, which help to improve air and water quality and protect local ecosystems.

In addition to reducing the environmental impact of the road, the A35 Brebemi green highway could also have the potential to generate electricity through the use of solar panels integrated into the road surface. This could provide a source of renewable energy for the surrounding area. The A35 Brebemi green highway is considered a positive example of sustainable transportation infrastructure, and it demonstrates the potential for other countries to follow a similar path toward greener and more sustainable roads. However, it is worth noting that the full benefits of this project are yet to be fully quantified, and it will take more time to understand their impact.

The implementation of green highways is still in its early stages. More research and development are needed to fully understand their potential impacts and optimize their design, and for that, key allies are needed.

As technology and knowledge advance, green highways will become more common and further contribute to reducing environmental impacts and promoting improvements for our communities. Who would have imagined that cars would provide households with electricity?

Photo by:   Sofi Niño de Rivera

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