Power of Footfall

Power of footfall


April 21, 2016

There are so many tech innovations happening at the moment, many of them transforming the ways in which we live and work, but it was upon reading about Pavegen’s new technology that the ways in which the majority of us power our homes and businesses suddenly felt extremely old hat.

It brought into even sharper relief the exciting progress happening across the renewable energy sector. We’re kept up to date on a continual basis through our work with solar energy company Solarplicity, but this was something that I hadn’t previously come across. And I have a feeling it could be big.

Imagine every step you take powering the world around you – shops, streets and stadiums lit up by the very people that are using them. Well this could increasingly become a reality… As a football game kicks off at Morro da Mineira favela in Rio de Janeiro, it’s the players that power the six LED floodlights that surround the pitch, and they do so simply by playing the game.

Buried under the AstroTurf are 200 kinetic tiles, each with a ‘hot spot’ that is activated when a player steps on it. These tiles are able to generate 7W of power per footstep, and if they aren’t being activated, the power supply can be supplemented by other sources, in this case solar energy.

Since 2014, Pavegen have laid their kinetic tiles in over 100 locations, including Harrods and Heathrow Airport. They are now preparing to launch Mark4, which provides even more efficient energy generation – there is no ‘hot spot’, so energy is generated regardless of the position of footfall. Washington are the first to get on board, with a site being developed right outside the White House!

What struck me was how hugely influential this could be for the retail and hospitality sectors. Hotels, for example, with their high levels of footfall, could particularly benefit from a constant source of renewable energy. Lobbies could be lit by people walking in and out, exercise studios and machines could be powered by those using them, and kitchens could rely on power generated by their staff. And with a ‘green agenda’ often high up on a hotel’s list of priorities, this is a fantastic step forward for hotel businesses as well as the future of our environment.

by Rob Conway

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