The new floor tile is “Achieving energy security, reducing emissions” and…letting the world know that “a smart, low-carbon future is within our grasp and the technology is already available.” It’s a people powered solution to creating a healthy planet.
By Lin Smith
Harvesting Renewable Energy from a Footstep
April 27, 2014—Pavegen is a clean tech company in England that converts footsteps into energy, and their invention is making a world-wide path in a real “no carbon footprint”, off grid, eco-friendly future. “Every time someone walks over a Pavegen tile, renewable energy is harvested from the footstep.” says Pavegen CEO and founder, Laurence Kemball-Cooke. While observing in a crowded train station he realized there must be a way to harvest all the energy of so many people so Kemball-Cooke, at age 23, designed the energy-generating tiles, and received his first commercial order from Europe’s largest urban shopping center, Westford Stratford City a year later. Each footstep on the tile can generate about 4 watts of power. The energy generated, as a result of a footstep, converts into electricity which can be used or stored in a lithium polymer battery for future use. The energy can power such things as lighting and provides interactive participation between people and their source of electrical power.
What’s the flooring made of? According to their website, pavegen.com, “the top surface of the flooring unit is made from 100% recycled rubber and the base of the floor tile is constructed from over 80% recycled materials. The system can be simply retrofitted in place of existing flooring systems as well as specified for new development.” The tile is hardy and waterproof, and can be placed outside or inside.
Installation and Uses of the Pavegen Tile
In March 2014, the tile was installed in the Saint-Omer train station in France, where 5000 people a day pass through. The tile provides bench lighting, and USB ports where travelers can recharge their cell phones. In addition, each tile has a wifi transmitter which sends information about the energy generated to a computer, displaying data on a screen to provide people with a visual of the energy they provide by walking on the tile.
Starting in 2012 the tiles were installed in many schools throughout the UK and in January 2014, Riverdale Country School in New York City became the first American building specifically designed for Pavegen floor tiles. Kids are encouraged to run and jump in the hallways–two things kids love to do! Not only do kids get to bounce their way down the hallway, they use the tiles in science to study the kinetic energy from a sustainable product, teaching a new generation to move away from the dinosaur age of fossil fuels.(or the dinosaurs that became fossil fuels!)
Paving the Way for a Future of Renewables
Pavegen’s vision is to “make this technology available to every community in the world….transforming smart cities of tomorrow….achieving energy security and reducing emissions” and…letting the world know that “a smart, low-carbon future is within our grasp and the technology is already available.” Whether walking, running or dancing on a Pavegen floor, it’s people-powered energy could be used in the future to light our sidewalks at night, when the sun sets, or on cloudy days when using solar is inefficient. The educational value of using the tiles in schools can inspire a new generation of inventors. The endless innovation of renewables has just begun for a new generation.