Pavegen tiles harvest energy from footsteps
Can you imagine the power of 50,000 steps a day? Well, Laurence Kembell-Cook, the director of Pavegen Systems imagined it and created Pavegen tiles - a low carbon solution that aims to bring kinetic energy harvesting to the streets. Not surprisingly, the tile is receiving a great deal of attention as a solution for power-hungry cities with a lot of walking traffic.
Designed for use in in high foot-traffic areas, the tiles convert the kinetic energy from footsteps of pedestrians into renewable electricity, which can be stored in a lithium polymer battery or used to power low-wattage, off-grid applications like street lighting, displays, speakers, alarms, signs, and advertising.
Each time someone steps on the tile, a central light illuminates, "connecting" the person to the part they play in producing the 2.1 watts of electricity per hour the tiles can generate (and providing self-sufficient lighting for pedestrian crossings).
The tiles are made from nearly 100-percent recycled materials (mostly rubber) and some marine grade stainless steel. They can be retrofitted to existing structures and are waterproof as well as designed to withstand outdoor conditions.
Pavegen tiles were used as a dance floor at Bestival on the Isle-of-Wright and are currently being tested in East London. They have been successfully installed in a school corridor where they are currently being monitored for durability and performance while helping to power the building. Speaking of durability, each tile is claimed to have a life of approximately 20 million steps or 5 years.
In September 2011 Pavegen received its first commercial order for the London 2012 Olympics Site where they will be used in the crossing between the Olympic stadium and the Westfield Stratford City Shopping Center.
Here's the company's product demo:
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So is that 2.1W average or peak? How much energy is recovered from a 120 pound woman or a 150 pound man walking on it? Joules is what we need to know, total energy, not the rate it is extracted. Power can sound very attractive until duration gets in to the equation and spoils the fun. RADAR is a good example where a peak power of hundreds of kW is only actually present for a couple of microseconds so when the peak power of a weather RADAR is 250kW the average power is around 1.25kW. In this case 2.1W for... 50ms? Twice a minute? 1/30 x 1/20 x 2.1W now we have around 3.5mW average. Say it was 10 times a minute and 100ms duration, that\'s still only 35mW.
And there\'s no free ride. If you want to recover significant power then you are going to effectively have humans pedaling your city. They are going to notice the load. Like when you walk on the powered walkway at the airport, or run in sand. People are likely to avoid that unless there\'s payback. How about putting these things on the down stairways? People probably wouldn\'t notice that.
Other than that, it seems like a reasonable idea, although it certainly is not going to solve the enrgy shortage or global warming. It might be particularly useful in out-of-the-way places where power lines have not already been strung, or in underdeveloped countries where connection to a grid has not been done in remote areas.
The only use I could see for this is industrial, for instance, installing them under a gravity fed conveyor belt. Power generation would be constant and reliable.
This is the problem with the environmentalism movement, ANYTHING no matter the cost, is good if it helps the environment. The problem is, there is a finite amount of money in the world, and some things will work better then others. When you go spending unlimited amounts on any old feel good thing, you will soon run out of money. When the BIG fix is hopefully finally discovered, we may not be able to afford it.
The sad fact is any long term solutions have to be cost effective.
But you say \"You can\'t put a price on life!\". Malarky I say. Suppose I invent a super drug which will allow anyone who takes it to live 200 without ever being sick. However, it costs 10 million dollars to make one dose. (actual cost, not price gouging) There\'s no way per capita lifetime income (even over 200 years) is high enough to pay for that.
So yea, you can put a price on life.
You\'re starting to sound like Todd Dunning. Only the extremist fringe says, \"ANYTHING no matter the cost, is good if it helps the environment,\" the way you claim. By painting all environmentally-conscious people with the same, broad brush, you seem to imply the opposite, that nothing is worth it when it comes to the environment, even though you state the obvious that it really comes down to cost-effectiveness. Todd used to do something similar here on Gizmag, always saying nuclear energy was the ultimate source and that renewables are all garbage.
The fact is that any intelligent environmentalist would see this exactly for what it is, a flashy gimmick with no real practical application.
Articles like this stunt humanity by making semi scientists, inventors and those intrigued actually believe that this sort of thing might even be remotely viable.
Market forces are known - if I can\'t produce at about a dollar a watt forget it. This won\'t. No wait - this CAN\'T. So ditch it. And stop pretending this sort of vacuous idea benefits humanity. It belittles existing technology and those who work hard to deploy it.