Meet Eurovia's Power Road.
For those of us who live in places where winter is a very real season, road riding can get difficult, at best, during the colder months. At worst, we park our bikes until the roads are better suited to how we like to ride. What if that wasn’t a problem, though? A French company called Eurovia has been working on road technology that could potentially solve this problem.
Eurovia has been working on a project called Power Road since at least 2014. This system uses heat exchangers embedded beneath the road’s surface that channel heating and cooling energy more efficiently into the urban environment. Thermal sensors store the heat built up over the summer, where it can be channeled into heating nearby homes or other facilities. It also comes in handy for melting ice and snow on those roads in the winter.
Using a closed water flow to cool those roads in the summer can solve other urban problems, as well. Even if urban planning isn’t your forte, you’ve probably noticed how much hotter areas with large concentrations of concrete can get. Cooling the roads can also make the surrounding area cooler, which helps everyone nearby—including riders.
This project has advanced beyond the drawing board, with Eurovia building a few real-world applications in France over the past handful of years. So far, parking lots seem to be where Eurovia’s positive-energy road projects are moving forward. In one case, heat energy stored up from the lot will help to heat a new housing development nearby.
While Eurovia clearly didn’t set out to make it easier for motorcyclists to ride in the winter, that could be a very real bonus to its Power Road installations. Of course, making areas more energy-efficient in general is certainly no bad thing.
If you’re in France, it seems more likely that one of these projects may roll out near you soon. It remains to be seen if, when, and how quickly other countries might integrate this tech in the future, but it’s intriguing to think about.