Energy-generating pavement turns footsteps in electricity

Usually when we’re talking about sustainable energy sources, we think about the sun, wind or perhaps waves. But we tend to forget that we can generate our own energy. Not by hooking up our lamps to a bicycle or a giant hamster wheel, but by merely walking towards our destination. The company Pavegen developed a pavement stone that generates electricity from footsteps, turning a normal pavement into an energy-generating one.

Pavegen created two types of tiles, one for temporary installations, such as events, and one for permanent ones, such as pavements. The permanent tiles are manufactured out of a composite material called Menzolit SMC through compression moulding. A 100-tonne press heats up and forms the glass fibre reinforced material that contains mineral fillers into a safe interface for pedestrians.

As people step on the tiles, their weight causes electromagnetic induction generators to vertically displace, which results in a rotatory motion that generates off-grid electricity. Additionally, 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 monitors footfall, providing the ability to predict peak timings and prime locations. The unique design also monitors directional flow to provide a comprehensive analysis of movement patterns. As any smart device, there is also an app, rewarding people for their footsteps by translating them into discounts, vouchers, and clean electricity.

The first permanent large scale outdoor installation was placed in Washington D.C., US, in November 2016. This summer, another project was launched in Bird Street in London, near the busiest shopping site in Europe, Oxford Street. The 20-square-metre (107-square-foot) array has been dubbed the world’s first smart street. The kinetic energy of visitors’ footsteps is being converted into electricity to power bird sounds during the day and a lighting display at night.

For another floor generating energy through footsteps, click here.

Photos: Pavegen