Energy-harvesting tiles placed along an 80 foot section of the Champs Elysee will capture energy from the pounding feet of 40,000 racers. The technology developed by Pavegen offers a tangible way for people to engage with renewable energy generation. The flexible tiles made from recycled truck tires convert kinetic energy from foot traffic into useable, off-grid electricity. The tiles’ top surface is made from 100% recycled rubber and the base is constructed from over 80% recycled materials. The system is versatile: use it for new developments or retrofit existing flooring systems.
During Hajj, perhaps the largest annual pilgrimage in the world, mobs of Muslims walk counter-clockwise seven times around the Kaaba, the black cube-shaped building at the heart of the Al-Masjid al-Ḥarām. Imagine the juice those tiles could collect if installed around the plaza? In addition, pilgrims run repeatedly between the hills of Al-Safa and Al-Marwah. That makes for gargantuan power potential.
Pavegen Systems Ltd., the U.K. tile maker, says the technology is waterproof, designed to be used in harsh outdoor locations, and best suited to high-footfall urban environments.
The inventors estimate that each footstep generates up to 8 watts of kinetic energy, enough to power a light bulb for about five days. Harvested energy can be stored in an on-board battery or used immediately to power applications such as pedestrian lighting, way-finding solutions and advertising.
Aaron Davis, Pavegen’s chief marketing officer, said race sponsor Schneider Electric SA (SU) aims to eventually make the Paris Marathon an event that generates more energy than it consumes, and foresees the tiles cutting carbon emissions and boosting energy efficiency in cities around the world.
“Imagine if your walk to work could help to power the lights for your journey home in the evening,” Pavegen Chief Executive Officer Laurence Kemball-Cook said in a press release. It’s “a viable new type of off-grid energy technology that people love to use and which can make a low-carbon contribution wherever there is high footfall, regardless of the weather.”
Imagine the juice generated if the tiles paved pilgrims’ paths?
Last year, Saudi Prince Khalid al-Faisal, Governor of Mecca Region and Chairman of Central Hajj Committee, estimated that close to 4 million pilgrims participated in the event. That’s billions of footsteps that could light pilgrim compounds, charge millions of mobile phones, power the enormous food prep facilities that come alive each year for a very few weeks to serve the holy hordes.
A spokesman for Pavegen declined to say how much the tiles cost, but Pavegen aims to get costs down to about $76 per tile, equivalent to other high-specification flooring products.
Images from Pavegen