16 July 2021

A New Use For A Dutch Bike Lane

 If you’ve ridden with a dynamo-powered light, you’ve converted your pedaling power into electricity.  Some cyclists have also turned their RPMs into amps that ran everything from toasters to tuners.

Now a Dutch province (where else?) is using the bike path itself to generate ecologically sustainable electrical power.

On Wednesday, elementary school students in Maartensdijk, a village near Utrecht, became the first to ride the 330 meter path. Its prefabricated concrete blocks are embedded with solar cells and coated with a transparent layer that allows sunlight to reach the cells as it protects the path. 

Solar bike lane in the Netherlands 

Arne Schaddelee said, “you have to dare to use innovation” to reach goals like the one the Netherlands set for itself: being climate-neutral by 2040.  “And this is very innovative,” the provincial official declared. 

But it’s not innovation for innovation’s sake. “We have a very full province,” he explained.  “For that reason you have to try dual use.”  

His pronouncement could also apply to his country: The Netherlands is one of the world’s most densely populated nations.

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