A company called Pavegen has created floor tiles that create electricity using kinetic energy. The tiles have been installed in almost 40 countries and can generate up to seven watts of electricity per footstep.
These floor tiles use kinetic energy to generate electricity
Laurence Kemball-Cook, the founder and CEO of the company, told The Guardian he first had the idea when trying to come up with new ways to power streetlights in his city. The city was shaded, so solar energy wasn’t extremely viable. But Kemball-Cook tried to think of new ways to take advantage of the streets themselves. So, he came up with the idea of floor tiles that can harvest kinetic energy.
Being able to generate power using foot traffic is intriguing, and it takes away a lot of the concerns for renewable energy that come with solar and wind power. With kinetic-generated electricity, you no longer have to worry about rain or cloudy days stifling the power generated. You also don’t have to worry and windless days keeping generators from building up reserves.
Instead, people become the generator. And, because each footstep can generate up to seven watts of power, you’re looking at an easily scalable method for generating clean energy. The company is also exploring other ways to generate electricity. They recently installed dance and gaming floor pads in Germany. And, so far, those tiles have generated enough energy to drive an electric car 700 miles.
More than just clean power generation
But these new floor tiles are capable of harvesting kinetic energy don’t stop at creating electricity. They also act as a data collection system. Each time the tiles are stepped on, wireless data is sent out. This allows for crowd flow modeling, which can let experts see how people move through cities.
Cities can use this information to make better walkways and improve areas that get a lot of foot traffic. Additionally, you can use these types of tiles to control lighting better. Allowing for less energy waste in the long run. And, Pavegen says it can even help retailers determine how many people are visiting their shops.
Floor tiles that can capture kinetic energy are already appearing all over the world. And, as more cities add them, we’ll be able to see how long-term this kind of clean energy production truly is. It could end up being a more reasonable approach than using other unlimited energy resources, like fusion reactors.