Picture: RYAN PYLE/GETTY IMAGES
Picture: RYAN PYLE/GETTY IMAGES

Budapest — A Hungarian tech company is taking small steps with recycled plastic waste to make solar panels built into pavements to power buildings and charge electronic devices in public places.

The solar cells are protected with hardened glass tiles, which allow the pavements to carry the weight of vehicles, and the secret lies in the small-scale approach, said Imre Sziszak, co-founder of Budapest-based Platio.

“There are no complicated bits in this panel. We use recycled plastic, which provides a very strong and durable surface,” Sziszak said while laying down a pavement at a public swimming pool in the northwest town of Komarom on the Slovak border where the solar panels will provide green energy for public lighting and a USB-charging station.

“We wanted to make a really simple product that can provide renewable energy for households,” Sziszak said.

One solar panel unit provides about 20W of energy and Platio says it is the only company that uses recycled plastic waste for this purpose.

The solar cells are integrated into the pavement by using recycled plastic materials, with about 2kg needed for each panel, and Platio pavements can be installed where using conventional solar technology is not possible.

“There are many cases when the users cannot put it on the roof, either because of the bad position of the house, or because of the system or the roof structure, and in these cases ours is a very good alternative,” Sziszak said.

For a typical family house, a 20m2 pavement provides sufficient green energy, and Platio’s largest project was an 80m2 pavement in Kazakhstan to power the air conditioning of a shopping mall.

Though the Platio solar pavement is more expensive than traditional roof-mounted panels, Sziszak believes the simplicity of the product makes it more versatile.

“We wanted to make a really simple product that can provide renewable energy for households.”

Reuters

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