Smart-City Technology Harvests Energy From Footsteps
These tiles can harvest energy -- up to 8 watts per footstep -- that can be stored and used to power streetlights or other infrastructure in urban areas where there is significant footfall. (Source: Pavegen)
I thought that was a good use of recycled materials as well, AnandY, especially since tire rubber itself is such a wasteful product. What better way to reuse it then to turn it into something that can create energy?
Elizabeth thanks for the awareness article, Actually this is a great innovation.
The electricity which is made through this is mainly depending on the weight and the number of movement in the flow, cant we able to increase the technology to durable enough to take more weight and more movement. Simply I, am thinking about vehicles in the roads.
I think that the technology can already work with cars, or is being adapted already to do so. I'm not entirely sure and have to check with the company on this. But you're right, there is great potential for this to be a use as well.
That is a great idea, but I'd like to see how it feels to walk on this material. To create electricity, I would guess it would need to have some give. If this material is anything like the recycled tire material used on playgrounds, it will be a less than desirable walking experience. Walking on the playground material is like walking in a trampoline.
Yes, it definitely has some give, from what I understand, Rob. But I don't think it's TOO sponge-y. The flex is 5mm, which isn't that much, so I imagine it would be a little bit like those people movers at airports. But I don't know for sure. I guess the only way to know is to test it or talk to someone who has.
I think there would have to be some give in order to generate the energy. A little give may not be a walking problem. Actually a little give will help walkers burn more calories, much like running in sand, but not to that extreme.
Another good point, Rob. The tiles also could be good for the waistline! Although like I said, I don't think it's going to be too much give. I actually think it could be quite a nice cushion for the feet. When I used to run a lot, I liked running on sponge-like surfaces as opposed to concrete. It was quite nice to take that pressure off the joints.
You're right about softer surfaces being easier on the bones, Elizabeth. One of the suggestions for running training is to train on grass -- because it's easier on the bones and joints while tough on the muscles -- and doing the race on concrete where you get your speed.
Hi Rob, the last paragraph in the article suggested that the system generated enough power to run lights for 5 hours when installed outside a subway station in the United Kingdom. We are proposing a Proof of Concept on part of a jogging track in a local health & wellness center for evaluation purposes. A figure of 8 watts per foot step is mentioned.
I agree, Rob, but you're right, you have to have joggers on the tracks to see how the technology is working. I did sort of imagine it would be like the technology you find on those types of tracks, though. Maybe it would be good on some kind of university track, where they have running teams practicing and hosting events.
That's a good idea, Elizabeth. Those runners are consistent. It's interesting the wide range of energy technology that's appearing these days. And these new energy sources are coming with technology to back it up. It's no longer just a dream.
I often am skeptical about the real potential for new ideas to go platinum, (so to speak), but I agree -- O'Hare terminal, or the Manhattan sidewalk are energy sources just waiting to be harnessed. So, while there were many engineering points not clarified, I accept that's their proprietary right as the technology is being developed. I decided to dig a little deeper; not so much to investigate the technology, but more to see how I could invest in it. I learned they are still privately funded, but I'm going to put them on my radar. ( I missed DSL in the 90's and 3DP in the 2000's). This could be huge.
Yes, Jim, you're right that there are proprietary rights here, and the company did not want to divulge too much information about how the tiles were engineered, as they are still in the early stages of technological development. I'm sure you won't hear the last about this technology, though, so stay tuned for more. I do think it's quite innovative and has great potential, and with the high-profile installations that already have been done, I think it can only get better.
Elizabeth –Your point of "high-profile" installations, while still being in relative infancy is precisely what piqued my interest. As this was your article, I trust you also have them on YOUR radar --- so do you have any information for small investors getting on this band-wagon-?
After Googl'ing Pavegen, I saw a few articles on their funding and finances. It appears as if they are always seeking funding, (Seeking Angel Investors, and other Equity Partners) but I didn't see any indication of them planning an IPO. So, I was wondering if you had information on their financial strategy for growth.
One final and very interesting point, Elizabeth; maybe you could post a new report on this [related] topic: After reading how a crowd of thousands could be harnessed to generate electricity, it reminded me of another article where a crowd was harnessed to collectively "think" and solve complex scientific problems, in game-playing format. The boundary conditions of the problems are defined as the "rules" and considering possible solutions is the "game". Click the link to see how Carnegie Mellon's Computer scientist Adrien Treuille created and launched two such problem solving games, Fold-It, and EteRNA. I was absolutely awed and inspired by this story -- maybe you can share it with the Design News readers.
Elizebeth very surprising technology and if it really generates 5W of kinetic energy per footstep than it can be very usefull by placing these tiles in large malls because their is usually large crowd which when walk will help to produce large amount of energy.Secondly it can also be used Near Muslims pilgimage place Kaba where thousand of people are continously moving around .
If these tiles are able to recover that much energy per footstep then it must be taking more effort to walk on them, since the energy can only be coming from one source, the walkers. While running on "bouncy" ground is more comfortable it does take more effort. Captured energy has to come from someplace, after all.
Another interesting thought is that if the sidewalk tiles communicate with something else they could probably serve to notify somebody that people are walking past, which might be a law enforcement concern if people were detected walking in some areas late at night.
Other than this tile technology i have come across a japenese shoe technology as well which helps to generate electricity . The shoe looks like a sandal with a watery cushioned sole inside it when you put weight on it the water sloshes to generate power ,Generator attached to each pair helps convert the power into electric energy which helps to juice up your ipod or any electronic device .
Debera – I've also seen those devices that were designed to provide power from footsteps. But each of them (I've seen several) always provided power to the individual, supplying partial power for the various appliances you mention, "on the body".
This idea shifts the paradigm to a much broader target market. Using literally millions of pedestrians to power municipalities' needs. Interesting how a simple change of perspective changes this "existing" concept into something new.
Reminds me of something Mr. Spock once said: "comparing the needs of the one to the needs of the many".
Hi,, bobjengr, the company was being a bit scant on details about how the technology works for proprietary reasons. I'm not sure offhand about storage but perhaps there is info on the company's website? http://www.pavegen.com/
I saw a similar technology developed at Purdue a few years ago, bobjengr. It used piezo technology, but I don't know if this one did, too. We may now be reaching a point where developers are going to provide scarce detail, as Liz points out.
When the energy harvesting is done, and it goes back into the same system, I don't see any problems, but when you start harvesting human energy it opens up a whole can of worms!
We live in a place where we are free to make choices. We expect to know in advance how much something is going to cost before we commit, and if we get charged more it's considered fraud. If I walk on a sidewalk that takes more energy from me than a normal sidewalk and there is no option for me to make a different choice before I walk on it, is it fraud? I don't want to read a 10 page legal document before I enter an area, but it still seems like I should be given the choice before my energy is harvested. What is the threshold? Obviously, costing you your entire life, like in "The Matrix" is something no one would sign up for, but if it only costs 1% more is it "in the noise" and not requiring the opportunity to opt out?
If the government issued every household a stationary bike with a generator and said to be a member of this society, each person has to spend an hour on it each day, we'd be up in arms! How is this different?
Am I the only one who sees a potential problem with my energy being harvest without my prior knowledge/permission?
Focus on Fundamentals consists of 45-minute on-line classes that cover a host of technologies. You learn without leaving the comfort of your desk. All classes are taught by subject-matter experts and all are archived. So if you can't attend live, attend at your convenience.