Walking is the most common activity in day to day life. When a person walks, he loses energy to the road surface in the form of impact, vibration, sound etc.
Due to the transfer of his weight on to the road surface, through foot falls on the ground during every step. This energy can be tapped and converted in the usable form of energy source.
From footfalls to climbing stairs, to opening doors, the cities of the future will look at ways of tapping energy from all the mechanical energy we expend going about our daily lives.
When looking at the amount of kinetic energy produced in the average metro station at rush hour, or even on the dance floors of nightclubs, harvesting electricity from human activity could open a new way of harnessing human energy.
UK-based Pavegen – the company founded by Kemball-Cook in 2009, makes electricity-generating flooring. It has installed tiles in more than 100 locations, including Harrods and Heathrow Airport. In 2015 the startup raised £2 million from over 1,500 investors on equity crowdfunding platform Crowdcube.
Pavegen is a multifunctional custom flooring system. Each tile is equipped with a wireless API that transmits real-time movement data analytics, whilst directly producing power when and where it is needed. The system is also able to connect to a range of mobile devices and building management systems.
Pavegen have completed over 100 projects around the world, across various sectors including train stations, shopping centres, airports and public spaces. Some of the installations are mentioned below:
Pavegen have installed 51 tiles within Terminal 3 of Heathrow Airport, powering LED lights situated along the corridor. (Images credit: Pavegen)
10 tiles Installed in Harrods’ flagship store, situated in the heart of London (Image credit: Pavegen)
Installation near the finishing line of the 2013 Paris Marathon (Images credit: Pavegen)
Pavegen Installed 68-tile walkway located at one of Africa’s most prestigious shopping centres (Image credit: Pavegen)
Pavegen CEO and Founder Laurence Kemball-Cook said: “This is the biggest moment in Pavegen’s history. We’ve created a product that can reshape the way people move in our cities, and with current digitisation our ability to connect physical and digital worlds through a single footstep places us at the forefront of the footfall energy-harvesting market,” as reported by Energy Harvesting Journal.
How does it work?
The working principle is simple. As pedestrians walk across the Pavegen system, the weight from their footsteps causes generators to vertically displace; consequentially this radial motion creates energy through electro-magnetic induction.
Pavegen diagram (Image source: Gizmag)
The new Pavegen technology, known as V3, is sleeker and far more efficient, generating over 200 times more power than the first model manufactured in 2009. The new tile produces 5 watts per step, which can be used to power low-voltage off-grid applications such as street lights.
Pavegen has ambitious plans for the sector as a fully scalable renewables producer. Analysts estimate the energy harvesting industry could be worth as much $30 billion by 2018.