The annual Paris Marathon took the term “energetic workout” to the next level this past weekend by harnessing kinetic energy from over 40,000 participating runners. Sponsored by Schneider Energy, the initiative covered part of the marathon course with energy-harvesting tiles that were activated as participants ran across them. Each runner’s step yielded 8 watts of energy, which was used to power electric signs and display screens throughout the marathon.
Kinetic energy harvesting tiles, made by British-based Pavegen Systems, covered around 82 feet of the marathon’s course. As marathon runners passed over the tiles, their energy was collected and transported to a storage battery. The power of each step was converted into electrical energy, which, for the race, powered electric signs.
The Paris Marathon collected around 7 kilowatt hours of electricity during the entire race, which is enough energy to power a light bulb continuously for five days. Schneider Energy installed the tiles at the race as a way to bring awareness to the public of the possibilities of utilizing kinetic energy. Pavegen kinetic-harvesting tiles have appeared in shopping malls, subway stations and stadiums, successfully using the power of foot traffic to help offset each venue’s dependence on the grid.
The one barrier that stands in the way of Pavegen tiles becoming more popular is the cost. With the progress of more widespread production, Pavegen has cut the price of the kinetic tiles to nearly half, and hopes to get the cost of each tile down to $76.