Testing new innovative ideas
We are piloting three renewable energy projects, as part of the £22.9 million ADEPT Smart Places Live Labs Programme.
The three schemes focus on solar, kinetic and thermal energy, and were secured following a successful £1.05 million bid we made to the Department of Transport.
Thermal: Probes for de-icing and heating
We have installed five geothermic probes that extend 150 metres into the ground in the car park of our highways depot at Thorn Turn, in Houghton Regis.
The geothermic probes respond when the temperature drops to freezing and de-ices the car park, enabling our vehicles to continue operating and saving money on gritting salt. The heat is contained in an on-site geothermal storage unit, and can also be used to heat the depot, saving on energy bill costs.
This technology, which is a first in the UK, would be suitable for areas such as leisure centres and school playgrounds.
Kinetic: Pedestrian-powered panels
Walkways that power two smart benches and a digital advertising and information screen have been installed outside Leighton Buzzard Railway Station.
The pavements are thin, but extremely sturdy. They capture energy when people walk on them and this energy is then stored and used to power the screen and benches, which also enables people to charge their mobile phones.
The pavements are photovoltaic, which means they turn solar light into electricity. They provide the same grip and durability as a conventional asphalt or paving surface.
This technology can also be used to power infrastructure such as streetlights and road signs.
Solar: Lighting buildings through solar energy
We've installed a solar car park surface at our Thorn Turn Highways Depot, which is used to light, heat and power the depot.
The solar car park is made up of 216 modules, which carry up to 17,400kW an hour. Vehicles that drive over the car park modules power the depot, saving on energy bills and making our building more sustainable.