Solar Serpents in Paradise

Driving in the Solar Serpent
Driving in the Solar Serpent

Turn the freeways into urban powerplants! With solar-technology and a narrative design, the freeways re-emerge as contemporary structures.

NEWS!
February 2016: Praised in the recent french debate on solar “Techniques de l’ingenieur
April 2015 issue of Pour La Science “5th generation of roads”
Semi-finalist MIT’s Climate Co-Lab 2013
French TV: “Le Journal” on France 2, April 1st 2013
Svensk Forms Pecha Kucha night at Berns, August 24, 2011
Exhibition and lecture at Festival d’Europa in Florence, Italy, May 6-10 2011
WIRED’s 10 Transportation Trends That Rocked 2010, Read articles in: WIRED, Le Figaro Magazine, Curbed LA, Plataforma Architectura, ArchDaily, Expressen
The project was first exhibited at the 2010 Toward a Just Metropolis conference at UC Berkeley and presented at the Swedish Embassy’s Imagining Beyond 2020 conference in Washington, DC.

Part of the solar converted Santa Monica Freeway
Part of the solar converted Santa Monica Freeway

Due to the low areal energy generation of solar cells, allocation of land use is a central issue for any solar proposal. The Los Angeles Solar Program focus on roofs on private and public buildings within the city and a gigantic solar plant in the Mohave desert. With Los Angeles County having 800 km of freeways – public land with existing points of access for maintenance – why not use some of them for the location of a large scale solar installation?

Diagram 1-3
Diagram 1-3

1. Solar panels need unshaded sun away from neighbours and palmtrees.
2-3. The Solar Serpent will shade the roads and reduce the need of air-condition.
The energy production peaks mid-day when energy consumption for air-condition peaks.
Bonus effect: UV damage on roadsurfaces will decrease.

TECH SPECS:

Santa Monica Freeway (downtown to the beach):
24 km avarage 40 m width = 960.000 m2= 600.000 domestic panels (1,6 m2)
Peak effect for Santa Monica Freeway 115 MW = 150 GWh per year
150 GWh is enough electricity for all households of Venice, CA

Exemple: National Blvd/I-10 overpass
Exemple: National Blvd/I-10 overpass

Under main road overpasses electric cars can be filled at the “Power Place” charging stations! The locally produced electricity will be sucked up by households and businesses locally in the grid with minimal transmission costs.

Section of linear algae farms
Section of linear algae farms

The CO2 rich air on the road is brought through pipes into linear covered algae ponds along the freeway. This will bring green tech jobs, such as farming, harvesting and processing of biofuels, to the neighborhoods that today are the most disadvantaged by their proximity to the freeway.