Stored summer heat de-ices winter roads

Summer blazing heat can be used to prevent roads from icing up in winter.

In a trial, polyethylene water pipes have been buried at a depth of 12 centimetres below a section of road in the UK. The asphalt absorbs the heat of the sun and warms the water in the pipes. This is then pumped for storage to a second array of pipes which are insulated by a 1-metre-thick layer of polystyrene.

In winter, when sensors detect that the temperature of the road surface has fallen to 2 °C, the warm water is pumped back to the pipes under the road where it warms the ground and prevents ice from forming on the road surface.

The trial by the UK’s Transport Research Laboratory is due to last two years. The same technology could also provide underfloor heating for office blocks.

Although Austria and the Netherlands have similar systems for clearing snow, the storage tanks have to be buried 20 metres or more underground, making construction far more expensive.

Via New Scientist.