Clean Energy Lab Drives 18 miles of Georgia Highway
Eighteen miles of West Georgia’s I-85 Highway, known as The Ray, is more than just a stretch of highway. It’s an example of clean energy revolutionizing the way we drive by implementing green technologies including a solar-paved roadway, solar-powered charging station, and roll-over tire pressure monitor.
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“Causing five million tons of CO2 emissions nationally each year and 35,000 fatalities in 2015 alone, highways are one of the most environmentally damaging and dangerous infrastructure systems in the world. That’s why we’re starting a movement to make The Ray a net zero highway.” states TheRay.org. “Zero deaths. Zero waste. Zero carbon. Zero impact. It’s an ambitious goal, but using The Ray as a living lab for innovative ideas and technologies, we’ll set a new standard for roadways across the globe.”
Named in honor of Ray C. Anderson, “America’s Greenest CEO” who manufactured carpets, The Ray is an environmentally-friendly tribute developed by his daughters to celebrate and further Anderson’s eco-minded business ideals.
According to Nexus Media Writer Jeremy Deaton, The Ray already boasts three fully functioning green technologies and hopes to add more in the future. What’s working now is:
- A roadway paved with solar panels — the energy absorbed by the panels powers the West Point, GA, Visitor Information Center.
- Electric vehicles need less than 45 minutes to garner an 80% charge at the highway’s solar-powered charging station.
- You can check your tire pressure and tread health at the roll-over tire pressure monitor and tend to concerns by filling up at the provided pump for no cost.
A few of the hopeful plans for the future of The Ray, reports Deaton, include:
- EV charging lanes —Electric cars won’t need to stop at a charging station because highways built with integrated wireless charging will handle charging needs.
- Road noise would be muffled by solar barriers.
- Solar-powered smart studs — “Each stud would feature a small solar panel and a battery. It would charge during the day and light up at night, urging drivers to slow down when it’s raining, for example, or alleviating rush-hour traffic by marking the shoulder as an extra lane,” reports Deaton.
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The Ray is an incredible example that roads and driving can be less harmful to the Earth, which is a benefit to all those who call this planet home.