The future is here. Students walking from class to class are now helping to power their school’s lights with every step they take. Shoppers strolling through the mall are generating the electricity being used by the stores they visit. Energy-converting paving slabs are currently being installed at Europe’s largest urban mall and site of the 2012 London Olympics site.
PaveGen is the manufacturer of the rubber paving slabs which are set to revolutionize the electricity industry by harvesting kinetic energy from the impact of people treading on them and then instantaneously delivering those small bursts of electricity to nearby appliances. According to PaveGen, these slabs have an on-board battery that can store energy for up to three days.
The eco-friendly slabs are engineered to compress five millimeters when stepped on, but the exact mechanism used to convert the step into electricity is a tightly kept secret.
“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,” said Kemball-Cook.
“As much as it’s an effective, common-sense source of some sustainable electricity, it’s also a great way for people to engage with the issue of sustainability … to feel like they are part of the solution in a very immediate, fun and visual way that doesn’t make you do anything you wouldn’t already be doing,” said Miller.
Kemball-Cook is confident that the slab is durable. Over the course of a month it was subjected to a machine that replicates the pounding of footsteps, non-stop every day, he added.
“It’s also really easy to install as a retrofit on existing pavements, because they can be made to match their exact dimensions … you just replace one slab with another,” he said.
“The average person takes 150 million steps in their lifetime, just imagine the potential,” he said.