Imagine being able to harness energy for your home just from your body alone. This would completely wipe out the need for polluting fossil fuels and revolutionise how we think about and use energy. One company from the UK is trying to do just that—with the help of a special type of flooring.
Pavegen’s V3 Flooring
UK company Pavegen, has developed a special floor tile which generates electricity whenever someone walks over it. As people step on the tiles, their weight pushes down on electromagnetic induction generators causing them to move. The kinetic energy is then transferred into off-grid electricity which is stored in batteries.
Laurence Kemball-Cook, the founder of Pavegen, came up with the idea after doing a placement year at the energy company Eon. He was given the task of finding a way to power street lighting with solar energy and wind. But due to constraints such as a lack of sunlight and temperamental weather, he couldn’t find a solution. Instead, he started thinking about other potential sources of power in urban environments. It was here that the idea for an energy harnessing floor was born.
Given its usability, you’d think companies would have jumped at the chance to install this smart floor. However, after developing the technology it took Kemball-Cook several years to convince people to take it on. Speaking to The Guardian on how he got his first deal, he said:
Investors wouldn’t invest without tiles in the ground, so I broke into a building site on the south bank of the Thames at 2am, installed the product illegally, took photos and put them on our website saying: ‘Celebrating our latest installation.’ I closed a deal with Westfield pretty soon after that.
Projects around the world
Since then, Pavegen has completed over 150 projects around the world, across various sectors including train stations, shopping centres, airports and public spaces. It’s also worked with brands like Coca-Cola and Siemens.
It’s most recent installations were in West End London and in Heathrow Airport.
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Our Head of Comms @alexmwjohnson filming with @fastcompany today at our latest install in the heart of London's West End! Discussing how we are creating a smart, sustainable oasis just off one of the busiest areas in the city 🇬🇧 The project is launching soon – watch this space! #sustainability #cleantech
As well as producing electricity, the floor tiles also collect data. This data can then be used to measure footfall, predict peak timings and prime locations, ideal information for surrounding businesses like shops, cafes and restaurants. Likewise, anyone who steps on the tiles who is connected via a mobile APP collects points. Each footstep collected is converted into a digital currency that can be used to reward loyalty or to donate to charitable causes.
Pavegen’s smart flooring appears a fantastic invention which has got people excited about alternative sources of energy. It’s not only encouraging people to walk in cities, rather than drive or take the bus, but also to think about energy consumption and how we can reduce our impact on the environment. Better for our health, better for the planet.
Featured image: Pavegen/Facebook