Energy Harvesting Tiles

Founded by Pavegen, it was initially introduced as a singular tile, which converts the energy of a footstep into electricity, and can be stored for later use or used directly by mobile devices and building management systems. However, the company has evolved from its singular tiles of generating electricity to including three multi-functional component parts (floor, data, and energy). This will serve two components in driving data-driven smart cities; (1) Reduce dependancy on depleting natural resources to generate electricity; and (2) The multi-functional component will allow footsteps and movements of crowds to be monitored, providing real-time data and assisting in optimising space and floor management.

Sustainability Issue

In 2015, the United States generated about 4 trillion kilowatthours of electricity.  About 67% of the electricity generated was from fossil fuels. By 2040,  U.S’s electricity power requirements will grow by 30%. Energy harvesting technologies from road infrastructure and sidewalks  serves as a promising technique to addressing the global energy problem without depleting natural resources.

By 2015, 54% of the world’s population live in cities and it’s expected to reach 66% by 2050.   As the world population becomes increasingly urbanised, city planners must plan accordingly to improve living standards of inhabitants by ensuring city infrastructures such as public transportation do not become saturated. Hence, a data-driven approach will be crucial in developing transportation schedules to accommodate individuals during peak hours. Pavegen’s multi-functional tiles provide real-time data movement analytics of crowd sizes, allowing the city transportation department to plan accordingly.

Issue: Energy, natural resource dependancy

Technology Stakeholders

-Urban Planners, Architects, Engineers

-Local Government

-City dwellers, Residents

-Investors

-Municipal, city department i.e transportation, electricity

Technology Implementation

-Initially, to create awareness of the product, Pavegen installed the tiles at the finish line of the Paris Marathon. The company must continue to create awareness by initiating a pilot test in a smaller city  to entice investors. If initially investment is lacking to conduct the pilot test, a possible solution would be to create some form of agreement with the local government, possibly price reduction or 1 year free consultation/maintenance. Conduct the pilot survey for a period of 6 months to 1 year, recording data on energy saved and fossil fuel consumption. Finally, publicise findings ( if supporting of course) over media and other social networks to increase awareness and interest investors.

-To fully integrate Pavegen’s multi-functional tiles and create a noticeable large-scale impact ( in terms of energy saved/annum, and fossil fuel consumption), it will require the collaboration various stakeholders including the transportation department, city-planners and private businesses. Hence, building Public-Private Partnerships (PPP) will be crucial in successfully executing this scheme. Creating transparency, especially during the preliminary decision-making phase in the allocation of tiles will be important, to ensure most, if not all, stakeholder interests are considered and satisfied.

-Once the tiles have been installed, provide training to city department workers for addressing maintenance issues. Alternatively, due to its relatively new entrance into the technology market, provide one-year free maintenance and training to city staff.

Sources

http://web.archive.org/web/20141226025807/http://www.scientificamerican.com:80/article/pavement-pounders-at-paris-marathon-generate-power/

http://www.pavegen.com/philosophy/

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/where-will-the-us-get-its-electricity-in-future/

https://www.eia.gov/tools/faqs/faq.cfm?id=427&t=3

 

 

 

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3 thoughts on “Energy Harvesting Tiles

  1. Very interesting technology! I like that it has dual purposes – generating clean energy and providing data. I agree with your assessment that PPPs are crucial in getting this technology more widely implemented. Sports venues and events seem to be a natural fit for Pavegen as demonstrated with the Paris marathon and in Lagos. Thanks for sharing, I look forward to following this company and learning more.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. (UNI:KHN2110) The tile is typically made out of recycled polymer. The top surface is created using recycled truck tires. Between 1-7 Watts of electricity is created per foot stomp. Installing the tire is difficult due to the high durability required. It needs to have a high fatigue resistance and be weather resistant. The tiles can also be easily vandalized.

    http://web.archive.org/web/20141226025807/http://www.scientificamerican.com:80/article/pavement-pounders-at-paris-marathon-generate-power/

    Like

  3. Hi Karida, I agree to most of your points. The tiles are designed to withstand outdoor conditions (not exactly sure the extend to which) and are waterproof. As for durability, each tile is expected to have an average life span of 20 million steps or 5 years (once again this would depend on where you place it), and considering its main method of functioning is through footsteps, it would only make sense from a business/engineering perspective that durability was a component high up the list. I was not clear on where this would be most effective and I had only mentioned one example, which was the Paris Marathon. I suppose it would serve better purpose within buildings such as airport terminals (e.g. Heathrow Airport Terminal 3) and shopping malls (Harrods, London) where outdoor conditions become less of a factor. Hope this was useful and thanks for your thoughts!

    http://www.gizmag.com/pavegen-tiles-kinetic-energy-harvesting/20235/

    http://www.pavegen.com/harrods

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