Clean Power

Published on January 10th, 2012 | by Zachary Shahan


Generating Power from Sidewalks

January 10th, 2012 by  


That little green slab creates electricity.

I almost wrote on these cool energy-producing sidewalks in October when I was writing a post for MyEnergy on kinetic energy. We’ve written on kinetic energy many times here on CleanTechnica, as you can see from this excerpt of that MyEnergy post (note: the first link and 4 others are not stories on our site, but the rest are):

In Electric Vehicles (EVs): EVs are highly efficient largely because of their use of kinetic energy. They capture the kinetic energy that is often lost as heat when braking and it is sent back to the battery of the car.

Buses, Trains, and Garbage Trucks: Implementing the same idea as above, school busessubway trainsshipping trucks, and even garbage trucks are beginning to test out and use kinetic energy from braking.

Speed Bumps: I haven’t heard of anything on this since 2009, but it seemed to be the year of speed bumps being used to create electricity. Burger King announced that it would be capturing the kinetic energy of speed bumps that year, as did the UK and leading UK supermarket chain Sainsbury.

Your Shoes: Researchers at Louisiana Tech University and the University of Wisconsin-Madison are each working on kinetic energy technology that will allows people to generate electricity from walking, from their shoes.

(There’s also the fun sOccket soccer ball.)

Now, though, back to the application at hand….

PaveGen is making sidewalks that include little slabs that produce electricity, using kinetic energy from people stepping on them.

“The slabs will see their first commercial use on a pathway between the Westfield Stratford City mall and the London Olympic stadium,” Chris Keenan writes over on sister site Green Building Elements. “Though only 20 tiles will be used, an expected 30 million people will use that path in its first year – overall they will provide enough power for half of the mall’s outdoor lighting.”

Of course, this technology is not super efficient (yet), but when you have the opportunity to create electricity almost without any effort or change to the environment, why not? They’re also pretty cool-looking.

And, if you can place such tiles in a busy place, the electricity created can be significant.

Images via PaveGen

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About the Author

is tryin' to help society help itself (and other species) with the power of the typed word. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director and chief editor, but he's also the president of Important Media and the director/founder of EV Obsession, Solar Love, and Bikocity. Zach is recognized globally as a solar energy, electric car, and energy storage expert. Zach has long-term investments in TSLA, FSLR, SPWR, SEDG, & ABB — after years of covering solar and EVs, he simply has a lot of faith in these particular companies and feels like they are good cleantech companies to invest in.

  • Sharon Cousins

    Do you know the mechanism? Is it similar to what is inside “wind stalks’?

  • TonyBrooklyn

    Stairs! I’m thinking subway stairs.

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