The heated cycle lane has successfully passed its first test. Tauw performed the test – which received wide media coverage – in a test setup in the Dutch village of Heino on a snowy day in January.
In the test setup, water at an average temperature of 7 degrees Celsius was pumped through tubes, which acted as a kind of underfloor heating to make slippery cycle paths passable. And it appeared to work just fine on that snowy day. The cycle lane could easily be maintained at a temperature of 3 to 4 degrees and therefore remained snow free. And it did so with continuous snowfall from 7 am to 6 pm.
The cycle lane was built behind the local engineering company Doorgeest Koeltechniek. It was fitted with coils in the concrete through which water at a temperature of around 7 degrees Celsius was pumped. In practice, groundwater will be used, which has an constant average temperature of between 11 and 15 degrees in the Netherlands. The aim of the trial was to establish whether the amount of energy (temperature of the water) required for snow to melt matched the calculations. Other construction types like asphalt are currently in preparation.
Keeping cycle paths clear of snow and ice prevents accidents. Heated cycle paths are therefore especially suited for accident-prone areas such as bridges or dangerous stretches near schools.
Other purposes of de-icing surfaces with natural groundwater energy are airport runways, railway stations and soccer fields.
See also the news report Heated cycle lanes to warm Dutch winter cyclists on BBC World.