Pavegen Systems has figured out a way to literally squeeze energy out of every footstep. The British firm manufactures special tiles that depress about 5 millimeters when stepped on. The technology coverts the kinetic energy created by the compression of the slab into electricity.
Five per cent of the electricity generated by the footstep instantly lights up a lamp in the middle of the tile, while the rest is stored in a battery or used immediately to power more lighting, information displays, powered signage, charging phones or sound devices.
Placed in a heavily foot-trafficked area, the tiles can serve as full-on generators.
The system was invented three years ago by 26-year-old Laurence Kemball-Cook, an industrial design engineer and graduate of Loughborough University in the heart of England.
The technology can be retrofitted into existing walkways, and is made of recycled material like tires.
The tiles operate independent of existing electricity grids. Amee Devani, a development executive at Pavegen, calls them “stand alone data centres” that distribute power-load needs and availability within a self-contained system.
They’ve already been installed in school corridors, and the long-term plan is to set them up in major transportation hubs, like airports and train stations.
The biggest coup so far was getting the slabs installed at one of the main transportation hubs at the London Olympics to power light fixtures. And Pavegen didn’t have to do a thing — the games’ organising committee came straight to them.
“Unlike solar or wind, this is a form of energy people can physically engage with,” Devani said. “It’s a great way on an individual level to play a part in energy efficiency.”
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