APR 26, 2018 11:16 AM PDT

Powering Cities by Walking

WRITTEN BY: Julia Travers

Whenever you move, your body requires and expends energy. What if some of that energy could be gathered up and applied in useful ways within a city? That’s the theory behind Pavegen, a business that uses kinetic technology and specialized tiles to harness the power of footsteps, with a focus on urban settings.

As global warming and climate change observably and directly impact a growing number of ecosystems and lives around the world, the hunt for renewable, sustainable and “green” energy sources is in full force. Collecting the energy generated by an activity that is nearly continuous in cities – walking – is a great idea and a challenging one, as well. Pavegen Founder and CEO Laurence Kemball-Cook and his team had to grapple with the diverse and inconstant physical conditions of a city street in order to create a working model. Changes in the weather and the many types of impacts one stretch of sidewalk experiences are among the dynamic factors they encountered.

Pavegen tiles, credit: Pavegen

“Engineering this versatility into our system has been a big challenge, and it has been a highly iterative process to get to where our design is today,” Kemball-Cook said.

The 2018 iteration of Pavegen consists of triangular tiles that have generators under each of their points. As people walk over them, the surface moves several millimeters and the weight of the footfall pushes down on electromagnetic generators. As the generators compress, a rotary motion is produced, which creates approximately five watts of power per step. This energy can be stored up or used in the local environment to run lighting, sensors or other tech. Because the Pavegen team has now carefully studied human steps, the current version of the tiles can convert 200 times more energy per square foot than older models. Pavegen also has an app that allows interested walkers to see how much energy they are creating and even earn rewards.

“Pavegen’s combination of physical interactivity and rich data is helping to bring smart cities to life. Forget the Internet of Things, we’re building the Internet of Beings,” Kemball-Cook said.

For example, in Washington D.C., a Pavegen system was introduced to a standard concrete street-crossing. The energy generated by foot traffic now runs lighting and the installed “park” collects power from thousands of walkers daily. Pavegen has created more than 150 projects all over the globe so far, in locations such as airports, train stations, public spaces and shopping areas.

Pavegen can also be rented through a branch of the company called Pavegen LIVE, which focuses on events and “activation;” using this unique tech “to power experiences across the globe.”

Source:

The Architect's Newspaper

Pavegen

About the Author
  • Julia Travers is a writer, artist and teacher. She frequently covers science, tech and conservation.
You May Also Like
OCT 23, 2019
Chemistry & Physics
OCT 23, 2019
Irish Teen Removes Microplastics From Water, Wins Google Science Fair
A new invention that removes microplastics from water was designed by 18-year-old Fionn Ferreira -- winner of the Google Science Fair....
OCT 23, 2019
Space & Astronomy
OCT 23, 2019
3D Printing Could Be the Answer for Habitats on Mars
Deep space missions, such as those to the Moon and Mars, are in our future. NASA, SpaceX, and other top-tier entities in the business of space exploration...
OCT 23, 2019
Cell & Molecular Biology
OCT 23, 2019
Measuring the Heat That Mitochondria Release
Researchers at the University of Illinois developed a minuscule probe that can take the temperature of a cell's interior....
OCT 23, 2019
Clinical & Molecular DX
OCT 23, 2019
Apple Watch New Research App: A Boon to Women's Health
The Apple company, in 2018, enrolled more than 400,000 people in its Apple Heart Study conducted in partnership with Stanford University researchers....
OCT 23, 2019
Chemistry & Physics
OCT 23, 2019
Scientists Gained Insights into Nuclear Fusion from Mayonnaise
Nuclear fusion is considered as the energy of the future. Researchers across the globe have been striving to build fusion reactors that can eventually be u...
OCT 23, 2019
Space & Astronomy
OCT 23, 2019
InSight Lander's Stymied 'Mole' On the Move Again
NASA’s InSight mission touched down on the Martian surface just under a year ago and has since deployed a suite of scientific instruments to investig...
Loading Comments...