Pavegen, a company based in London, is using the kinetic power of footsteps to generate off-grid power. Their triangular installations look no different than other traditional decorative sidewalk slabs or flooring. But those triangles weren’t chosen just to look nice. That particular shape cuts down on any dead space allowing the utilization of almost every footstep.
Every step you take
Each step on a Pavegen walkway produces around 5 watts of power (2 – 4 joules) for the duration of the time the person walks. This power isn’t meant to run cities, but it can run led lighting or screens, environmental sensors, and for storage in batteries.
So far 200 Pavegen installations can be found around the world in countries such as: Hong Kong, India, Korea, Thailand, UAE, England, and the United States. Here at home there are new installations capturing the power of footsteps in Washington D.C.’s Dupont Circle. At the University of Birmingham, students walking from one class to another are powering USB charging stations.
They’ll be watching you
Elsewhere, they can be found in retail stores and malls, sports stadiums, schools and airports. Bluetooth beacons within the installations connect to smartphones to give retailers information about where customers go within their stores and what they stop to look at. And for the customers, it offers store discounts in exchange for energy generation.
Pavegen installations are roughly the same as traditional sidewalk slabs or flooring in cost. But the Pavegen slabs start lowering the site’s energy costs right away.
Pavegen paving the way to a smart future
The vision of the company is “for smarter, more sustainable built environments which empower and connect people. From climate change to rapidly expanding cities, we face complex environmental and social challenges. Our technology enables people to directly engage with clean energy, to increase their understanding of sustainability issues, and to connect purposefully with brands.”