Generating Electricity One Step at a Time

A new source of renewable energy has taken to the streets – literally. In what serves as an innovative development of the clean energy revolution, tech firm Pavegen has recently released its third version of floor tiles with the ability to harness electricity from the power of footsteps.

Suited for both indoor and outdoor use, Pavegen V3 tiles can be laid virtually anywhere that has pedestrian traffic. The product utilizes the force of a footstep to power a flywheel inside the tile, which then spins and coverts kinetic energy into electrical energy through electromagnetic induction. The tiles are triangularly shaped and are capable of generating five watts of power as they are walked across, and depress about one centimeter when stepped on.

The V3 is up to 200 times more efficient than Pavegen’s earliest version, which was a rectangular tile that only produced power when a person stepped directly on its center. The triangular V3 is equipped with a generator in all three corners, enabling it to produce power regardless of where a pedestrian steps. When these tiles are linked together, they are capable of covering large areas without losing effectiveness. In addition to the generation of power, the tiles also offer unique opportunities to gather data on pedestrian traffic and city trends.

Pavegen has been cited as saying the V3 is fit for powering some forms of city infrastructure, such as advertising boards and different sources of lighting. CEO and founder Laurence Kemball-Cook also sees possibilities for consumers if they are able to track how much energy they produce individually. He believes app-based technology will allow users to collect “currency” each time they step on a tile, which can then be traded for rewards or donated to charity. Excited at his company’s potential, Kemball-Cook says:

“Imagine if you go to get sneakers and you get money off, because you’ve been generating energy for the store.”

The potential locations for Pavegen’s V3 tiles are widespread. Targeted areas include those hosting large sporting events, offices, shopping centers, tourist attractions, and airports. Pavegen’s earlier tiles have been effectively used at such venues in Europe, Nigeria, and Brazil. The V3 is confirmed to have been recently installed in two new locations – Westfield Stratford shopping center in London, and Dupont Circle in Washington, D.C. The harvested energy at these locations will be combined with battery storage systems to provide light during periods of low foot traffic. Future installations of the V3 are scheduled for London’s Oxford Street, as well as walkways outside the White House.

Read more here: “The Best New Green Energy Tech Could be Right Underfoot,” (Emma Grey Ellis, Wired)

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