Safe and ice-free bridges using renewable energy sources

Project summary
Winter road maintenance is costly but it is inevitable since it is necessary to keep roads accessible and safe during winter. Current winter road maintenance methods use annually 600 000 tons of salt, in the Nordic countries. The salt ends up in the environment along the roads and results in environmental challenges. This project proposes an alternative, winter road maintenance concept for critical parts of the road infrastructure. The proposed concept consists of a hydronic heated pavement (HHP), utilised as solar collector, which is connected to a borehole thermal energy storage (BTES). The combination of an HHP and a BTES (called renewable HHP) means that the solar radiation will be harvested in the summer time and the stored energy will be used for winter road maintenance at critical parts of a road infrastructure. In existing hydronic pavements district heating or other high temperature energy sources are currently used, however, high temperature energy sources limit the implementation of HP systems. Research on using low temperature energy sources can result in a reduction of primary energy need and makes implementation of HP systems more feasible. The purpose of this project is to investigate the feasibility of implementing hydronic pavements using renewable energy, in the Scandinavian countries.

The project is based on numerical simulations using an open source programming language. The results from the numerical simulations will be compared against data obtained from a test site that is constructed in Östersund, Sweden. The test site is a part of the NORDFOU-project HERO.

Project video HERO-


Partner organizations

  • Swedish Transport Administration (Public, Sweden)
  • Norwegian Public Roads Administration (NPRA) (Public, Norway)
Start date 17/03/2014
End date The project is closed: 31/12/2018

Page manager Published: Tue 31 Mar 2020.