Thermal and hydraulic analysis of multilayered asphalt pavements as active solar collectors
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AuthorPascual Muñoz, Pablo; Castro Fresno, Daniel; Serrano Bravo, Pedro; Alonso Estébanez, Alejandro
The fulfillment of current environmental aims like reducing fossil fuel consumption or greenhouse gas emissions entails the development of new technologies that enable the use of cleaner, cheaper and renewable energies. Furthermore, the need to improve energy efficiency in buildings encourages scientists and engineers to find new ways of harvesting energy for later uses. The use of asphalt pavements as active solar collectors is introduced in this article. Several authors have studied the use of roads as an energy source before. However, a new technology is presented in which a multilayered pavement with a highly porous middle layer is used instead of a solar collector with an embedded pipe network. These collectors are fully integrated within the road infrastructure and may offer low cost solar energy for water heating. The paper includes a brief comment on the state-of-the-art. Then, a broad methodology is presented in which data, materials and procedures needed to run the tests are fully described. Finally, the results of the laboratory tests are stated and discussed. The prototype used in the laboratory provided excellent thermal efficiency. However, these good results contrast with the low flow rate levels registered during the tests. Thus, although this technology seems to be very promising, new experimental tests should be performed before an effective application is possible.