Imagine a colorful modular paving system that snaps together “like LEGO bricks” replacing dull pavements currently populating today’s concrete jungles. Hungarian startup Platio designed that paving system to make our sidewalks do more for us. Their paving system, made with recycled plastic, offers firm ground while harvesting clean energy from the sun.
Platio isn’t the first company to dream up energy harvesting roads. Notably, Solar Roadways has been developing a similar idea for years, even securing funding from the United States Department of Transportation. Platio’s system is targeted more towards sidewalks – at least for now – as the architects and engineers behind the startup brainstorm how to make our cities more sustainable. TechCrunch reports they’ve already secured $70,000 and sold 150 square meters, over 1,600 square feet, of their paving system.
Platio’s paving system harvests power from the sun via monocrystalline silicon cells inside tempered glass. TechCrunch says a plastic backing enables the system to dodge damage when people walk on it. The pavement modules connect in such a manner that doesn’t necessitate extra wiring; according to Platio, “The units are compact and modularly connect together making electronic contact without additional wiring by a powerline communication systems which connects automatically during the establishment.”
The pavement reportedly generates 160 watts per square meter, or per 10 square feet, according to Treehugger. Platio offers the paving in three colors, and is also working to create another innovative system to harvest energy from footsteps.
The ambitious startup doesn’t intend to stop with paving systems. Their ultimate mission is to “create a clean and energy-independent future, in which we create a new basis for urban life with taking into consideration the perspectives of information-based society.” Other potential projects include holographic infopavement, community energy storage, and solar building facades.
Images via Platio