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Wattway takes the road to the future

Founded in 1929, Colas dervives its name comes from “cold asphalt”, its world class manufacturing process for bitumen emulsion. With the Wattway system, solar panels are installed directly on to an existing road and used to supply energy to isolated areas or produce electricity to be used by local businesses or lighting for streets, urban features or buildings.

As roads are only used some 10% of the time, a surface area of 20m² is enough to cover the electricity supply of one household.  According to French energy management agency, Ademe, a one-kilometre stretch of road provides the electricity to light the streets of a town with a population of 5,000.

There are currently two 50m² test sites operating in the Vendée area. One is used to charge electrical vehicles and the other covers the electricity supply for an information panel and the distribution network. A larger test will be launched shortly in the Orne department of Normandy. The system is part of the state’s undertakings to implement government policy on energy transition.

Electric vehicles that draw their energy on the move still belong to the realm of science fiction. However, the road as a source of energy is just around the corner.

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