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December 8th, 2010

It’s a snake! It’s a fish! No, it’s a PV-wrapped highway.

Published on December 8th, 2010 | By: pwray@ceramics.org

Credit: Mans Tham.

In a post today on Wired.com, Swedish architect Mans Tham’s shares his ideas on transforming the Santa Monica Freeway into a true solar highway, which he refers to as “Serpents in Paradise.”

According to Tham, the I-10 expressway in California should be covered in photovoltaic cells that power the region. This above-ground PV-wrapped tunnel would be lined with algae ponds along the roadside to absorb the carbon released while driving.

“My design does not shy away from the monumental impact these roads have and will have on the cityscape but instead add new functions and narratives that are coherent with today’s needs. By letting infrastructure be a visually powerful part of the city, inside and out, its citizens are allowed to understand and cherish the complexity of their daily urban life,” Tham told Wired.

Tham believes PV panels are better suited for highways than deserts, since the Santa Monica freeway offers 10 million square feet of space for solar panels. This much area could potentially provide 115 MW of power, or enough to supply the entire city of Venice, Calif. power. No need for miles upon miles of transmission lines.

Tham has obviously given this a lot of thought, and has a website developed with intricate plans on developing this California dream into a reality, albeit an expensive one. Check it out here: www.manstham.com.


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