Low temperature deicing of road infrastructure using renewable energy
Doctoral thesis, 2019

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 thesis 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 pavement solar collector (PSC), which is connected to a borehole thermal energy storage (BTES). The combination of an HHP and a BTES means that the solar radiation will be harvested in the summer time and the stored energy will be used for winter road maintenance. This system can be installed 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 HHP systems. Research on using low temperature energy sources can result in a reduction of primary energy need and makes implementation of HHP systems more feasible. The purpose of this thesis is to investigate the feasibility of implementing hydronic heated pavements using renewable energy, in the Scandinavian countries.

This manuscript presents the experimental and numerical results from a field station of BTES connected HHP system. The field station was constructed during 2017 and experiments on harvesting were conducted during the summer of 2018. The anti-icing and de-icing function of the HHP system were studied during the winter of 2018/2019.

The results revealed that the solar efficiency of the HHP system reach as high as 42 % and 245 kWh/m2 of solar heat was harvested during the summer of 2018. This is a comparably high value for a pavement solar collector. The harvested energy were higher than the supplied heat (132 kWh/m2) during the following winter. However, the cold climate at the field station required supplementary heating since the BTES did not have the capacity to supply the required supply temperature of 7 degC to the HHP. The numerical simulations has reveald that by using a dew-point regulation and weather forecasting the energy consumption can be reduced by 62 % compared to a simple air temperature regulation. Based on the experimental and numerical results it can be concluded that it is feasible to design HHP systems to use low temperature (<10 degC) sources and at the same time achieve a substantial improvement of the surface conditions in a Scandinavian climate.

borehole thermal energy storage

renewable energy


numerical simulations

Pavement solar collector

Hydronic heated pavements

Room SB-H4, Sven Hultins gata 6, ACE, Chalmers
Opponent: Professor, Simon Rees, University of Leeds


Josef Johnsson

Chalmers, Architecture and Civil Engineering, Building Technology

Modeling the thermal performance of low temperature hydronic heated pavements

Cold Regions Science and Technology,; Vol. 161(2019)p. 81-90

Journal article

Hydronic Pavement Heating for Sustainable Ice-free Roads

Transportation Research Procedia,; Vol. 14(2016)p. 704-713

Paper in proceedings

Josef Johnsson, Bijan Adl-Zarrabi. Pavement solar collector for the northern hemisphere (Under review)

Safe and ice-free bridges using renewable energy sources

Norwegian Public Roads Administration (NPRA), 2014-03-17 -- 2018-12-31.

The Swedish National Road and Transport Research Institute (VTI), 2019-11-01 -- 2021-12-31.

Driving Forces

Sustainable development

Areas of Advance

Building Futures (2010-2018)

Subject Categories

Energy Engineering

Energy Systems

Building Technologies



Doktorsavhandlingar vid Chalmers tekniska högskola. Ny serie: 4635


Chalmers University of Technology

Room SB-H4, Sven Hultins gata 6, ACE, Chalmers

Opponent: Professor, Simon Rees, University of Leeds

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