Science 3 min read

Pavegen Tiles: Walking Down the Street Generates Electricity

Jay Premack Photography | Golden Triangle BID

Jay Premack Photography | Golden Triangle BID

Modern population centers such as cities need a lot of energy to operate. Most current energy solutions require burning fossil fuels. Aside from solar and other popular clean energy sources, what if we could generate power from our daily activities? The London-based company known as Pavegen Tiles lays the answer right at our feet.

Paving the way With Pavegen Tiles

Next-gen energy solutions have centered around going green for years now. A new clean energy innovation first introduced in Japan in 2008 has seen renewed interest thanks to the efforts of Pavegen Tiles in London.

Their tiles are unique in that they are designed to convert the energy from people’s footsteps into electricity, virtual currency, and data. One person can create as much as five watts of power from their footsteps alone.Click To Tweet

The tiles don’t seem to be anything special, but when weight is put on them an electric-magnetic induction generator displaces vertical pressure. This rotary motion generates off-grid electricity like the crank on an alternator or a wind-up survival flashlight.

Pavegen has been contracted to complete more than 100 projects around the world. The tiles are already in use in sites such as Heathrow Airport in London and Federation Square in Melbourne.

While the extra energy is certainly useful, Pavegen is working with other organizations in order to give an extra incentive: the creation of digital currency with every step on a Pavegen tile.

Mixing Clean Energy with Digital Currency

Pavegen is working with the District Department of Transportation (DDOT), the Golden Triangle BID, and ZGF architects to install the tiles at three sites across the Connecticut Avenue Overlook park. As part of their collaboration, the data created from the tiles will create digital currency through the Golden Triangle website, and this currency will be redeemable via an app yet to be released.

Walking to create data is nice, but walking to create currency sounds like a practical innovation. For example, cities could tackle obesity and energy problems simultaneously by offering benefits through a ‘get out and walk’ program.

The recorded data itself could be analyzed for any number of other uses. Civil engineers and citizens alike could use information about high pedestrian traffic hours and average walking speeds. How about tracking where your children go? The possibilities are many, and Pavegen intends to provide us the pathway to exploring them.

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