- The Norwegian University of Science and Technology and Scandinavian research organization SINTEF have announced the joint Power Road project, which will seek to raise funds for developing roads that generate more energy than they consume.
- In a similar initiative, the Norwegian Public Roads Agency wants to build a 'ferry-free' E39 highway over the fjords in western Norway. The agency has assembled a research team to investigate the possibility of a road network of power stations — harvesting wasted energy from cars and generating additional power through bridges fitted with solar panels and wind turbines — as well as extracting energy from the currents and waves in the water below.
- A "power road" would also require a reduction of energy used to build the roads, including sourcing local stone and electrification of heavy-duty equipment vehicles.
The team is also looking for ideas from developers for how to re-use rocks that are normally transported out of an area after extraction for road construction projects.
"Our current system takes no account of the contractor's role in this conundrum," said Berit Laanke of SINTEF. "At the moment they simply get paid for transporting rocks — not for looking into local and sustainable solutions."
Laanke also believes that electricity-generating materials can one day be integrated into asphalt, allowing electric cars to charge as they travel on the road.
The Power Road project is applying to the Research Council of Norway for funds and hopes to launch the first projects in spring of 2016. "With the dedicated commitment of public sector organizations, I'm convinced that the Power Road project will succeed," Laanke said.
While these projects are still in the early research stages, they could have big implications for future infrastructure development down the road.