May 28, 2015 report
Pavegen looking to harness energy from pedestrian footsteps
A company called Pavegen has launched a Crowdcube Project looking for investors in its footfall energy harvesting technology. The company has been making and selling its flooring product for several years, but thus far, it has been able to take on only small projects. With investment funds from Crowdcube the company hopes to pave the way for much larger installations.
The flooring the company makes captures energy from footsteps falling on it via a combination of electromagnetic induction and flywheel energy storage technologies. The system works well enough to produce up to 7 watts of electricity from one person walking across a short space. They claim their assemblage and combination of technologies is something that has never been done before and would like to see it used in places that could benefit from it—namely high traffic pedestrian routes.
The ultimate goal, company reps have told the press, is to figure out a way to produce their flooring that allows for selling it at near the same cost as regular flooring. Once that happens, it could be purchased and installed the same way that people are used to doing it currently, but they would gain the advantage of electricity being generated by people walking on it.
Thus far, the company has installed their flooring under a small soccer pitch, a small walkway at Heathrow airport, Federation Square in Australia and multiple other small venues. They suggest a larger installation such as Oxford Street in London, would allow for powering all the lighting along the street, and note they have designs worked out for systems able to generate megawatts of power—entranceways to office buildings come to mind, or larger parts of airports—anywhere a lot of people walk over long periods of time.
The company is also looking at moving into capturing kinetic energy from cars moving over roadways, noting that efforts to use roads as solar collectors, likely will not work due to the rough environmental conditions—but a system that captures the kinetic energy produced by cars rumbling over pavement might work. They also plan to add data collection to their flooring by capturing foot traffic volume, walk patterns and other information that could be useful to retail outlets.
© 2015 Tech Xplore