The costs associated with updating, re-vamping or building a home, office, production plant or lab are an obvious obstacle. But what if a very basic component of such upgrades actually helped cover their costs by generating electricity?
That’s one possible application for floor tiles created by Pavegen. The UK-based company recently unveiled their V3 offering, which captures the energy created by … well, walking.
The tile’s surface depresses when stepped upon, activating an energy-storing flywheel inside the tile. As this flywheel spins, kinetic energy is converted into electrical power via an electromagnetic induction process similar to the regenerative braking systems used in hybrid vehicles.
The triangular tiles measure about 19.5” per side and are comprised of a steel and recycled aluminum composite, so they should be durable enough for nearly any application.
The design allows for a generator to be placed in each corner. That means the whole tile pivots regardless of where the foot hits it in getting the energy production process started.
Pavegen cites over 100 installations on every continent, with the most prominent uses being transportation hubs in Europe where the walkways attract enough footsteps to power lighting. Another possible application could include monitoring foot traffic in identifying locations for signage and other marketing vehicles.
The bad news is that the V3 tiles only generate about five continuous watts of power as you walk across them. Considering you can get 100 watts from a solar panel that is about the same size and one-third the cost, it might be a while before you see Pavegen powering cities, plants or offices. A better fit could be transferring this tech to smaller mobile devices.