Smart Takes

Floor tiles harness power from pedestrians

Posting in Cities

London-based startup company Pavegen Systems designed floor tiles that convert kinetic energy from footsteps into renewable electricity.

This summer shoppers at the Westfield Stratford City shopping center in east London will be generating more than revenue for the stores. Visitors will also be creating power by walking over specially designed floor tiles.

Pavegen Systems, a London-based startup company, produced floor tiles that convert kinetic energy from footsteps into renewable electricity. The power generated from the thousands of visitors to the shopping mecca will be stored and used for a variety of applications including pedestrian lighting and advertising.

“The Pavegen technology offers the first tangible way for people to engage with renewable energy generation,” Pavegen Systems said in a statement.

One footstep can produce about 7 watts of electricity depending on a person’s weight. Once the energy is converted into electricity, 5 percent of it is used to light the tile and 95 percent is stored for later use or fed directly to the application it is meant to power.

The tiles are 45-by-60 centimeters and glow a bright green when they are stepped on. They are made of recycled rubber and other recycled materials and were designed to be retrofitted in place of existing flooring systems.

National Geographic reports:

"Nearly 30 permanent and temporary Pavegen projects have been installed in the U.K. and Europe. For two years now, four of its tiles have lined a hallway at the Simon Langton Grammar School for Boys near Canterbury, capturing energy from footfalls of its 1,100 students to keep the corridor lit. Pavegen has also harnessed music festival attendees' foot-stamping to charge cell phones and power LED lights."

Power generating tiles are a growing trend across the world. Pavegen is currently working with the German technology company Siemens to install the tiles in a square in Australia to power the lights there. There are also plans for power generating tiles in Lodon train stations in schools where it can be used to power the lights.

Tiles May Help Shrink Carbon Footprint by Harnessing Pedestrian Power [National Geopgraphic]

Photo via Pavegen Systems

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Amy Kraft

Weekend Editor

Contributing Editor Amy Kraft is a freelance writer based in New York. She has written for New Scientist and DNAinfo and has produced podcasts for Scientific American's 60-Second-Science. She holds degrees from CUNY Graduate School of Journalism and the University of Illinois at Chicago. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure