Unshackling the power of footfall

What is something that almost everyone does every day, without thinking? A simple motion that is the underlying form of movement for almost all human beings? Walking, putting one foot in front of the other. 

[easy-tweet tweet=”Pavegen is the innovative energy solution turning your footsteps into power.” user=”rhian_wilkinson”]

The average person takes over 216 million steps in their lifetime. There is a huge energy potential in the simple action of a footstep, especially as footfall is constant within the urban environment. By designing a floor tile that harnesses something as simple as a step, Pavegen is activating access to a power source previously not considered as viable.

The average person takes over 216 million steps in their lifetime.

Pavegen was conceptualised by Laurence Kemball-Cook during his time at Loughborough University. He undertook his industrial placement at one of the UK’s largest energy companies, where he was tasked with finding a sustainable energy solution for smart cities of the future. He realised wind and solar power would be ineffective in urban environments, due to high-rise infrastructure and pollution.

Given that 75% of the global population is estimated to live in urban areas by 2050, Laurence worked to create an alternative means of renewable energy generation, specifically for this market. He recognised footfall as a potentially unharnessed energy source and came up with the concept of Pavegen.

Pavegen aims to be an integral part of urban infrastructure and can help to develop the smart cities of the future. Providing an interactive renewable electricity source to power applications such as street lighting, advertising displays and communications technology. Additionally, the tiles can collect, monitor and communicate real-time data through the use of their wireless API; calculating footsteps per tile for analytics and social media updates.

[easy-tweet tweet=” Stepping into clean energy in the future is a reality thanks to @pavegen” user=”rhian_wilkinson” usehashtags=”no”]

The footfall calculator allows for analysis of the most heavily used routes through the Pavegen system. For example if a retail environment is activated with Pavegen, the business can see how people move around their stores by measuring footfall via the tiles. The engagement of customers with particular displays can be measured, and store layouts can be altered to maximise customer engagement based on activity hot spots. Additionally the energy generated during busy periods of the day can be stored to power the store in periods where energy consumption is lower.

My first thought upon hearing about Pavegen was that it has such huge potential for usage in events at scale, and the to potential to begin reducing the energy impact of major events.

At busy events the footfall data can be used to control crowds to prevent overcrowding and accidents, by sending out live updates on venue capacity, footfall and energy generation.

Already in use at events as experiential installations, Pavegen is engaging event attendees to generate interactive power sources. Coinciding with the theme “Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life” Pavegen promotes a sustainable energy resource accessible by all.

[easy-tweet tweet=”Can you imagine a dancefloor where the loudness of music is relational to the number of dancers? ” user=”rhian_wilkinson” usehashtags=”no”]

Showcasing the best of British innovation, Pavegen have an installation in the heart of the Expo Milano 2015. Working in partnership with Coca-Cola, the 30-tile dance floor works by controlling the music volume through the engagement of collective public footsteps, the more steps the louder the music.

Pavegen’s largest ever experiential installation was at the 2013 Paris Marathon. Working in partnership with leading French energy specialists Schneider Electric, they installed 176 tiles, including a 25 square metre span at the climax of the race on the Champs Elysée harvesting the energy of 40,000 runners.

Pavegen has just completed its first crowdfunding round on Crowdcube, which it launched on the same day as the flagship installation in Canary Wharf. Successfully raising over £2 million via Crowdcube, Pavegen is working on ways to reduce the cost of manufacturing the tiles, whilst increasing the energy output each tile is capable of.

Maybe you want your next step will be one that changes the world – with Pavegen, it really could be.

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