UK company Pro-Teq has developed a new water-resistant, spray-on coating that absorbs UV light during the day and releases it at night, adapting to the lighting conditions in its surroundings. The technology is being given a test run at the Christ's Pieces park in Cambridge, and could prove a cost effective alternative to conventional street lighting.
We're used to seeing solar-harvesting technology being installed primarily on rooftops, but other sufficiently irradiated surfaces, including sidewalks, are also being explored for their energy harvesting potential.
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Starpath doesn't produce electricity, but it does offer a possible alternative to street lighting, with very low installation and maintenance costs, as it can be just sprayed onto an existing surface and then further coated to make it waterproof. According to the company, the coating absorbs and stores UV light during the day and releases it at night, when its particles are able to adjust to the available natural light, and glow with the appropriate level of intensity.
The coating is currently being trialled in Christ’s Pieces, a park in the center of Cambridge, UK, where it has been sprayed on a total area of 150 sq m (1,600 sq ft). Pro-Teq says the coating took only 30 minutes to apply, with the surface being ready for use after only four hours.
"Our surface works best over tarmac or concrete, predominantly tarmac, which is the main bulk of the UK path network," explains Pro-Teq sales director Neil Blackmore. "When it's coming to the end of its useful life, we can rejuvenate it with our system, creating not only a practical, but a decorative finish."
Starpath has anti-slip properties, and can help users avoid collisions at night, without resorting to artificially-painted lines to divide the path. The coating is also non-reflective, and the company website lists a choice of 11 different colors. On the flipside, problems might be encountered during the winter months, with less light available during the day and the possibility of snow blocking out light from the path.
The video below details how the resurfacing technology works and explains how quickly the coating can be laid out onto a path.