Pavegen Tiles Turn Footsteps Into Electricity

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Pedestrians power round-the-clock lighting on a walkway at West Ham tube station, a key access point for London 2012 Olympic venues. Photo: Pavegen

A UK paver company is turning pedestrian traffic into electricity by harvesting the energy from footsteps.

Pavegen tiles capture the kinetic energy created by footstep for immediate or future use. The pavers are currently being used at the West Ham tube station in London and this transportation hot spot is estimated to receive a million visitors during this year’s Olympic Games.You can see a live feed of the energy created from the 12 tiles here.

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The tiles are set to make their largest commercial debut in September inside the Westfield Stratford City shopping center in London. The shopping center is estimated to have 30 million visitors in its first year.

The pavers contract slightly when pressure is applied from a footstep and this miniscule movement – about five millimeters – is enough to produce five to seven joules of energy, generating five to seven watts of electricity from the average step. When the paver is stepped on, .5 percent of the electricity created goes to automatically illuminating the tile’s central light and the rest is stored in the on-board battery for future use for things like lighting, sound and advertising signage.

The slabs were created by Pavegen founder Laurence Kemball-Cook in 2009. The 26-year-old engineer developed the prototype during his senior year at Loughborough University in Leicestershire, UK.

The tile’s surface is made completely of recycled rubber and the base of the paver is construction from 80 percent recycled materials. The pavers are made to withstand a large amount of footfall and are also waterproof.

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