Energy-harvesting Tiles Generate Power From Footsteps

  • August 11th, 2016

Want to do your bit for the planet? Well it can be as easy as putting one foot in front of the other thanks to these designer floor tiles by UK tech firm Pavegen.

The tiles have been designed to literally capture the spring in your step, converting kinetic energy from your footsteps into electricity. 

Tread on a tile and the surface depresses up to one centimetre. The downward force drives an energy-storing flywheel inside the tile, which spins to convert kinetic energy into electrical energy. It’s like a generator – only instead of spinning a turbine with wind, water, or coal, it’s spinning a flywheel with footsteps.

The company has been harvesting pedestrian foot power since 2009 and an early version of these tiles are installed at Melbourne’s Federation Square. Different to the initial prototype, however, is the new triangular design which is said to produce 200 times more energy than its rectangular predecessor. Being triangular allows the tile to include a generator in each corner, meaning the whole tile pivots towards a generator no matter where you step, even if your foot doesn’t fall in the centre.

The real beauty of these tiles is that they can go anywhere there’s heavy foot traffic – from airport terminals to playing fields and shopping centres.

It’s great to see practical green energy technology used in such a tangible way. The road (or footpath in this case) to a diverse renewable energy mix is in motion.