Any one point on a busy street can receive up to 50,000 steps a day, so imagine if you could take all that foot traffic and turn it into something useful – like energy! A new product designed by Laurence Kemball-Cook, the director of Pavegen Systems Ltd., can do just that. With a minuscule flex of 5mm, the energy generating pavement is able to absorb the kinetic energy produced by every footstep, creating 2.1 watts of electricity per hour.
Every time a rubber Pavegen stone is stepped on it bends, producing kinetic energy that is either stored within lithium polymer batteries or distributed to nearby lights, information displays, and much more. Just five slabs spread over a lively sidewalk has the ability to generate enough energy to illuminate a bus stop throughout the night. But applications are not limited to the street. Extended into other public and private spaces the system has the potential to power lights, computers, automatic doors, ticket machines, refrigerators, shop signs, microwaves… Depending on the usage, the payback period could be as little as one year, and each Pavegen stone has an estimated system life of five years of use, or 20 million steps.
Constructed from marine grade stainless steel and recycled materials, the surface (which comes in a variety of choice colors) of each slab features the rubber from old tires, and the internal components are made from recycled aluminium. Whenever a slab is stepped on it emits a glow (which only uses 5% of the total energy produced) – this not only informs the passerby of their contribution, but also reinforces a sustainable attitude and an increased awareness of the energy that is continually created and expended by each individual.
So far Pavegen has been tested out in East London and will continue onto various destinations in the UK in 2010. If all goes well it will hopefully be jetting off to some of the most trafficked and amazing places all over the world like New York’s Times Square, the Eiffel Tower or even Disney World.