State of the Planet

News from the Columbia Climate School

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Green Sidewalk is Electrifying

Utilizing innovative technology to transform physical impact into electricity, PaveGen is literally, as the company tagline describes, “Generating Energy from footsteps.”

As reported by CNN, 20 tiles of recycled rubber will be placed along the central crossing at the 2012 London Olympics site. With an estimated 30 million visitors each year, one small step for man is one giant leap for sustainable energy.

The green slabs are designed to generate small surges of electricity when someone steps on them. The tiles are part of a new wave of crowdsourcing, which relies on small contributions from many individuals to produce profound results.

According to Laurence Kemball-Cook, who developed the prototype during his final year of graduate school, “‘We recently came back from a big outdoor festival where we got over 250,000 footsteps — that was enough to charge 10,000 mobile phones.’” The efforts of 1,100 students at a main instillation at a school in Kent, England have also demonstrated the success of the technology.

Though the product has already received a suite of awards and funding from investors, mass production and pricing details are still in development.

While we wait for more details to surface, the potential for impact is arguably massive, as the average person walks several thousand steps each day. Still, Kemball-Cook heeds caution: “‘As with all things of this nature, on a large scale and in the long term, its success will be determined by how cost-effective it is to produce … If it turns out to be expensive, then it will struggle to find a place as anything more than a niche application.’”

Source: “Green sidewalk makes electricity — one footstep at a timeCNN, Oct. 13

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Mohsin Kabir
3 years ago

The tiles are part of a new wave of crowdsourcing, which relies on small contributions from many individuals to produce profound results.