Power Road : the positive energy road

The Power Road® system deployed by Eurovia captures and recovers up to 25% of the sun's heat energy which is then used to heat buildings and equipment located near the roadway.

Main project's drivers for reducing the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions

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Energy and resource efficiency

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Energy Decarbonisation

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Energy efficiency improvements

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Improving efficiency in non-energy resources

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Emission removal

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Financing low-carbon issuers or disinvestment from carbon assets

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Reduction of other greenhouse gases emission

Project objectives

To substitute fossil fuels used to heat buildings with heat captured (and potentially stored) by Power Road® pavements.

In France, the building sector absorbs almost half of final energy consumption. Nearly two-thirds of this energy is used for heating, with two-thirds of that share obtained by burning fossil fuels, which produce high greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. In this context, public authorities are partly directing the development of renewable energies towards heat production.

By capturing renewable heat produced by the sun's rays, Power Road® can contribute to this transformation thanks to a high level of efficiency – up to 25% of the sunlight received over the course of one day.

Roads and streets are great solar collectors. Their surface temperature can reach over 60°C in summer. With the Power Road® process, up to 25% of this renewable thermal energy can be recovered to heat nearby buildings and equipment.

To take advantage of this significant source of renewable thermal energy which has hitherto been untapped, Eurovia has developed the Power Road® process with the support of renowned institutional partners (ADEME, CEA Tech, Gustave Eiffel University, Cerema, BRGM, etc.).

Thanks to Power Road®, the road surface operates as a high-performance collector, capable of partially recovering solar thermal energy. The principle is simple: the road surface captures the heat of the sun's rays, stores it and reuses it to help heat the surrounding buildings and infrastructure.

With this process, up to 100% of heating needs can be covered. A road surface incorporating Power Road® technology features all the mechanical, durability and recyclability characteristics of conventional paving.

 

Power Road® solutions can adapt to different needs and form part of a bespoke project, as they:

  • Provide renewable heat as an alternative to conventional fossil fuels
  • Increase user safety and quality of service by keeping roads, pavements and car parks clear of snow and ice

Help to mitigate the effects of urban heat islands

Emission scope(s)

on which the project has a significant impact

  • Emission scopes
  • Description and quantification of associated GHG emissions
  • Clarification on the calculation

Scope 1

Direct emissions generated by the company's activity.

Scope 2

Indirect emissions associated with the company's electricity and heat consumption.

Scope 3

Emissions induced (upstream or downstream) by the company's activities, products and/or services in its value chain.

Emission Removal

Carbon sinks creation, (BECCS, CCU/S, …)

Avoided Emissions

Emissions avoided by the activities, products and/or services in charge of the project, or by the financing of emission reduction projects.

Scope 1 - Construction of the Power Road.  

  • Quantification : Construction of 1 km of dual-lane Power Road®: 175 tonnes CO2eq emitted.

Avoided Emissions - Fossil fuels used for heating buildings are replaced with heat captured by Power Road® technology.

  • Quantification : Emissions reduced by over 80% compared to a gas boiler.

In France, average energy consumption for heating buildings is associated with an emission factor of 79 kgCO2eq/MWh (RE2020 projection) for electric heating and 240 kgCO2eq/MWh for gas heating (ADEME 2018 database). Two-thirds of housing units are heated using fossil fuels.

Over its entire life cycle, it is deemed that one kilometre of Power Road® installed across two traffic lanes will:

  • Emit 370 tCO2eq/km for a full Power Road® installation and a field of vertical geothermal probes for inter-seasonal storage.
  • Produce 1,200 MWh/km/year (under average conditions)
  • Emit, when in service, 18 kgCO2eq/MWh of heat produced (coefficient of performance: 4.5).

The final emission factor of Power Road® is approximately 30 kgCO2eq/MWh (minimum useful life of 25 years), thus saving 210 kgCO2eq/MWh: Power Road® results in CO2eq savings of over 80% compared to a gas solution.

1,420 sq. metres of Power Road® have been implemented in the Caen area (Normandy); the system produces 270 MWh/year and avoids emissions of nearly 55 tCO2eq/year (based on the assumptions above).

Key points

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Invested amount

4,6 M€

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Starting date of the project

October 2017

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Project localisation

France, Czech Republic, Quebec, United Kingdom

Project maturity level

Prototype laboratory test (TRL 7)

Real life testing (TRL 7-8)

Pre-commercial prototype (TRL 9)

Small-scale implementation

Medium to large scale implementation

Economic profitability of the project (ROI)

Short term (0-3 years)

Middle term (4-10 years)

Long term (> 10 years)

Illustrations of the project

Power Road® contributes to the following SDGs:

  • SDG 7 – Affordable and clean energy: the Power Road® solution provides low-cost, low-carbon heat to the people who need it;
  • SDG 9 – Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialisation and foster innovation: the Power Road® solution develops innovative infrastructure that facilitates travel while generating renewable energy from the sun;
  • SDG 11 – Sustainable cities and communities: the Power Road® solution addresses the challenges related to transport and renewable energy supply in urban areas;
  • SDG 12 – Responsible consumption and production: the Power Road® solution limits consumption of carbon-based energy because it uses energy produced by the sun.

There is unlimited potential for the replication of Power Road®, as the energy recovered by the system is suitable for use in all types of facilities (schools, public buildings, homes, office buildings, sports facilities, etc.). Since Power Road® replaces fossil fuels wherever it is installed, its CO2 impact can be measured for each project.

Eurovia has committed human and other resources to developing Power Road® (building up a technical sales network, providing technical expertise for performance monitoring).

The success of this project depends on:

  • The full participation of public and private customers in the 2°C trajectory, and therefore in the switchover to renewable energies

The commitment of the French and European authorities to support the development of Power Road® technology through simple and reliable subsidy programmes (French Renewable Heat Fund, ERDF, energy savings certificates…).

  • Research and development work was carried out with institutional and expert third parties in France: LITEN (CEA Tech, Le-Bourget-du-Lac), Université Gustave Eiffel (formerly IFFSTAR, Nantes), BRGM (Orléans)
  • Design work was carried out with in partnership with engineering firm Ginger Burgeap, which holds qualifications 1007 and 2013 from the OPQIBI (French Engineering Qualification Organisation)

Supervision and performance optimisation were carried out with start-up Accenta.

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Contact the company carrying the project

power-road@eurovia.com

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