Authorities in the central Dutch province of Utrecht on Wednesday opened what they say is “the longest solar bike path in the world,” linking a sustainable energy source to pollution-free transportation.
The students of the local primary school were the first to ride on a path only 330 meters long in the village of Martensdijk, near Utrecht. It consists of ready-mixed concrete blocks covered with a thin transparent layer that protects and allows the penetration of sunlight to solar cells in concrete blocks that produce electricity.
The goal of the pilot project is to determine whether such dual-purpose roads can be more widely used to generate electricity using solar energy and serve cyclists, and the province of Utrecht is working to reduce carbon emissions.
“It’s very important. We want to be climate neutral in 2040, and that is why we must dare to use innovations, and this is very innovative, “said Arne Shadele, a provincial official. “Our province is very densely populated, and there is little space, so double use must be tried. So, if roads can be used for energy production, that is a double advantage. “
The solar bike path opened on the day the European Union unveiled a comprehensive new regulation to fulfill its promise to reduce global warming emissions by 55 percent over the decade, including a controversial plan to tax foreign companies for the pollution they create.
Solar bike lanes are already used elsewhere in the Netherlands. The road opened on Wednesday is the longest so far, Utrecht province officials said.
One of the first to try out the new trail, 11-year-old Machiel van Leuven said it was “better for the environment, I prefer solar panels on the bike path than in the fields”.
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