Summer Heat May Thaw Frozen Winter Roads

<p>Officials in the United Kingdom are looking at a new technique to deal with frozen winter roads -- by collecting and saving summer heat.</p>
April 27, 2008, 9am PDT | Nate Berg
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"The Highways Agency plans to install pipes underneath a section of road to gather solar energy in summer and recirculate it in winter."

"Experts hope the scheme could be a way to treat the roads which are the first to freeze. Officials are also testing the technology to heat and cool buildings, cut energy bills and lower greenhouse gas emissions."

"If successful, the pilot scheme could be extended to more roads."

"The scheme, known as interseasonal heat transfer, or IHT, will lay a network of plastic pipes filled with water just below the road surface."

"In summer, when road temperatures can reach 40C, the water is warmed and pumped to pipes insulated with polystyrene. In winter, when sensors detect the temperature at 2C, warm water is pumped back under the road to heat the ground and prevent ice forming."

"Because of the significant investment needed, only cold spots could be realistically considered at this stage, she said. 'Salting of the road will not be replaced.'"

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Published on Friday, April 25, 2008 in The Guardian
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