You’ve heard of whistling while you work. What about energizing while you walk?
That’s the idea behind Pavegen, a flooring system that generates electrical energy with every step you take. This energy can then be used for powering LED lighting, capturing and transmitting data, and monitoring the environment.
The flooring consists of a series of triangular composite tiles. The triangular shape creates a continuously articulated surface with no dead zones so the system can capture energy from almost every footstep. Each of the triangles’ three corners rests atop an electromagnetic generator. When you step on the tile, the generators are compressed, producing two to four watt-seconds of off-grid electrical energy. The system can be used indoors or outdoors.
Because of the instant feedback, Pavegen creates high engagement with people that allows them to interact physically with sustainability, while providing smart cities, transport hubs, retailers, and brands with a unique source of data collection.
Through the use of Bluetooth Low Energy beacons, Pavegen can also communicate with users’ smartphones to provide analytics data via a permission-based rewards system. Through the app, users will be able to see how many joules of energy they have created, how many steps they have taken on the Pavegen surface, and what that energy could have powered, such as seconds of light for a nearby LED installation. Pavegen refers to this triumvirate of powerful human engagement, instant physical feedback, and data and customer analytics as the “Internet of Beings.”
Among the company’s clients are the Abu Dhabi International Airport, Google, Siemens, Transport for London, and Urban Renewal Authority Hong Kong. In the Abu Dhabi International airport, a 16-sm Pavegen walkway between Terminals 1 and 3 collects footsteps from 8,000 travelers a day. The system tracks footfall data, powers lighting along the walkway, and shows how much energy is currently being harvested. It also has a game where children can power airplanes on a screen with the energy they are creating on the walkway.
There’s a Pavegen walkway in the University of Birmingham’s Green Heart, a high-tech outdoor recreation space designed by Churchman Landscape Architects. The university says it is the first school in the U.K. to have a Pavegen walkway.
The University of Birmingham’s Pavegen walkway resides among native flowers, wild plants, and 160 new trees. Data from the walkway is monitored via a cloud-based platform. The electricity it generates powers USB charging stations on nearby benches.
Pavegen has also been deployed at Bird Street, a forgotten side road off Oxford Street in London, to create what Pavegen calls the world’s first smart street. The energy generated is used to power bird sounds by day and lights at night.