Generating power from already existing habits
The energy crisis we face needs smart solutions. The most popular and applicable solutions will be those that profit off of already established patterns and habits of communities. This includes harnessing the power of light, water, and human movement itself.
PaveGen is an elegant example of such an approach: a paving slab which converts the energy from people’s footsteps into electrical power. At four years old the technology is still in its infancy, but trials are demonstrating its potential. A set of slabs installed at West Ham tube station in preparation for the 2012 Olympics registered over a million footsteps, each step producing enough power to light an LED-powered street-lamp for 30 seconds. It has also been successfully installed in a number of London offices and schools, and harvested energy from the runners in this year’s Paris Marathon. The slabs could also be a valuable component in a 'Smart City' approach to managing urban environments. In addition to being used for autonomously powered lighting, which lights only when people are nearby, they can also be used as a data source. Each slab is able to record footfall data then use its own power to transmit this wirelessly via a dedicated API, providing valuable real-time information about how and when people move around transport hubs, workplaces, shopping areas or sporting venues.