Technology of The City 2.0: Power by footsteps
In his talk at TEDxBerlin, industrial design engineer Laurence Kemball-Cook discussed his invention, the Pavegen, a paving tile made of recycled car tires that converts the kinetic energy of footsteps into electrical power:
I’m fascinated by the built environment—and how to make our cities more sustainable...I used to work for one of Europe’s largest energy companies, and I was looking at how to create a new form of power in our cities that was a renewable source of energy…so I thought, what about a power source that was literally under our feet? That every step people make—if we could capture that? And I thought, think of all the millions of people in the world; think of all the hundreds of cities; and think about what could be created by it.
So I created…a flexible paving slab that converts the kinetic energy of your footstep into electrical power…it stores the energy from many people walking—throughout the day, throughout the night—in our cities.
A set of Pavegen is currently installed in a school in the UK, where the foot traffic of the 1,100 students is used to power school lighting systems. Tiles were also installed in the West Ham tube station during the London Olympics. According to an article on Efergy about the installation, “[during] the 2 weeks of the games the 12 tiles produced 72m joules of energy or 20 kilowatt-hours..sufficient to keep the walkway streetlamps illuminated at full power through the night, and at half power during the day, with plenty of back-up energy left over to spare.”
(Photos: Top, Shell LiveWIRE; Bottom, inhabitat)
TEDxCity2.0 day is October 13. For more City 2.0 technology and innovation, check out our City 2.0 TEDxTalks playlist.