Pavegen: Energy Generating Pavement Hits the Streets

by , 10/28/09

sustainable design, green design, urban design, pavegen, energy generating pavement, kinetic energy, renewable energy, crowdsourced energy

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.

sustainable design, green design, urban design, pavegen, energy generating pavement, kinetic energy, renewable energy, crowdsourced energy

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.

+ Pavegen Systems Ltd.

Via World Architecture News

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  1. William Dakota September 29, 2011 at 5:29 am

    If it could be used for sidewalks in the winter to eliminate shoveling, it would be great.

  2. cyriljoseph August 29, 2010 at 11:48 am

    its similar to power leap by elizebeth redmond,
    but this is good to see that its made of recycled items.,can anybody tell about its sensitivit,ie what is the minimum force which is required to produce electricity?

  3. perfectcirclecarpenter June 7, 2010 at 3:00 am

    May I suggest a method of popularizing the device? HOPSCOTCH

  4. Chong Hor Ooi June 7, 2010 at 1:37 am

    A good start is better than doing nothing,adsorbed all good comment.keep on for this products.I like this.

  5. R Phillips June 3, 2010 at 6:07 pm

    I have not seen any comment from a professional electrical engineer. I would ask how many KW.hours are generated under favourable but realistic conditions, the only figure I have seen of\”2.1 watts per hour\” is totally meaningless.

  6. Jeffery Zhou March 20, 2010 at 11:05 pm

    I wonder how many Pavegens needed and how much cost to power a 100W street lights. Is it economical?

  7. Gulida December 26, 2009 at 8:22 am

    I agree with you Echochartreuce. I realize the inventors are thinking urban uses, but what about rural use? For example, let’s say you live off the grid but have 10 horses grazing in the pasture or field. Could you run the 10 horses across the Pavegen mats or slabs a 4-5 times a day and generate enough power to serve a 1,500 sq-ft farm house and small barn?

  8. ssn751 December 13, 2009 at 7:47 pm

    Interesting to see this implementation of the piezoelectric effect. The next evolutionary step is to, somehow, weave the capture device into carpeting used in airports and any other busy venue.

  9. yourlate November 28, 2009 at 9:11 am

    MJW you are completely wrong, people love to think they are giving back without actually doing anything difficult, a light up sidewalk tile that shows you that you are a good person (and shows all the people around you) would be insanely popular.

  10. Echochartreuce November 12, 2009 at 4:20 pm

    Pavegen if a gadget is one of the best I have seen for a long while. If Pavegen could be applied to various other applications, I could see this product everywhere.

    Could it possibly be incorporated into a Skate Park. On the ramps etc. Playgrounds, swimming pools, etc.

    Maybe for a varity you could have it in the pavement but the light in the nearby walls.

    I’m looking forward to seeing this products development.

  11. designwallah October 29, 2009 at 2:38 pm

    May I suggest these were designed to power the ubiquitous CCTV cameras monitoring said pedestrians of the UK?

  12. barryjb October 29, 2009 at 9:51 am

    It would be good to get more info on Pavegen but I agree in principle with Kirsten if what she says about the product is true. What is most interesting is that humans are producing the action to produce the energy directly. This is similar to the crank radios or flashlights. In many ways it is self regulating and therefore when no one is interested in doing that action then the energy is not produced for that situation. This is similar to the idea of when you are hungry you expend energy to find, prepare and eat food. Sustainability is really a change in nothing more than our perspective or how we think about ourselves, our world (where we live) and what is of value to the human race.

  13. MJW October 29, 2009 at 4:53 am

    “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.”

    This is such rubbish! People do not care about the energy they generate walking those tiles. And putting those tiles in the pavement, those tiles will be stepped on without feedback. People will not try to step on all those tiles and walking zig-zag to create energy. Idea is good (harvest already available energy), but leave those quasi-emotional experience stuff out of the concept.

  14. jacquie.wan October 29, 2009 at 1:38 am

    I wonder if a similar gadget could be created to be put on streets where they could collect the kinetic energy of driving by cars to power traffic lights.

  15. pavegen October 28, 2009 at 1:57 pm

    Hi Valentin, If you are powering remote lighting systems, at present you need 25-50 meters at least of copper cabling to run these in urban environments, plus an annual energy cost, with the pavegen energy harvesting system, it is a localised energy source that can power these lighting systems. When you look at the embodied energy in the copper, the installation and any additional works the the buy back of Pavegen is 0-2 years. We are not saying this is the future way to power the world and it will not save the worlds energy crisis but in localised environments it has significant benefits.

    Regarding the bottom up street lighting, we use optical film to disburse the light and prevent the glare.

    @ Kirsten, thanks, indeed you can use it with other applications also and we have tried to reduce the embodied energy of all components at every stage of the development process, we are even looking at using a recycled engineering grade polymer called ‘vertech’ instead of the majority of our aluminum components.

  16. Kirsten Corsaro October 28, 2009 at 11:23 am

    Interesting. @Valentin, it sounds like it doesn’t necessarily have to be used with bottom-up lighting, since it can power other things like refrigerators, etc. It’s not clear that it requires a large amount of energy for production, either, since it’s using recycled aluminum, recycled tires, and batteries that can might be usable after the other materials are worn. Recycled tire sidewalks are much more comfortable to walk on than regular sidewalks, too. Seems like it may be a good idea.

  17. valentin_s October 28, 2009 at 10:23 am

    I doubt it is ecologically worthwile for the following reasons. Bottom-up street lighting is probably dazzling your eyes to near blindness when bright enough for fair illumination of public areas! Energy-footprint: It can hardly claim the title “green technology” when considering its energy consumed for fabrication, for embedding, for maintaining, for wasting (after five years already). I am afraid it’s just another nice-looking “eco”-gadget deprived of any wider ecological or social meaning. And I don’t consider it to be a relevant contribution to contemporary environmental problems.

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