Energy from footsteps will become the next big thing in renewables, a British firm says as it launches a crowd-funding campaign to make energy-generating floors as common as solar panels.
Pavegen, one of the former competitors in Canary Wharf’s smart city innovation Cognicity Challenge, has unveiled its first urban environment installation at Canary Wharf’s Reuters Plaza, hoping to stir public interest in its Crowdcube campaign.
“At Pavegen we develop floor tiles that generate energy from your footsteps, so every time you step on our tiles, we are generating up to 7 Watts of energy from that step,” said Laurence Kemball-Cook, founder and CEO of Pavegen, who started the company in 2009 from his bedroom in Brixton.
“The technology converts your movements, your weight, into power, and it does that via an electromagnetic generation system so when someone walks on it, it rotates a flywheel and the energy from the step is stored in the inertia of the flywheel.”
The technology has already been installed at many places including London’s Heathrow Airport, the White House and a football pitch in Brazil. But as Kemball-Cook said, the firm is now ready to move into the next phase, when buying an energy-generating floor will be a no-brainer (think about how much electricity a class of hyper-active kids could produce during a PE class …).
“Our aim is to make it competitive with solar energy and it works really well in places like cities where you have a limited amount of roof space but a huge amount of floor space,” Kemball-Cook explained.
“I envisage the Pavegen technology working in a way that it will store the power during the day and then use it at night time so that it can work seamlessly with grids and also in an off-grid way.”
During the trial at Canary Wharf, scheduled to last until early June, the firm will be collecting data to prove the value of the project – something Kemball-Cook doesn’t have any doubt about.
“We are growing one of the most exciting companies in the world right now and our aim is to be in every single city in the world and be part of every single floor that is deployed in the future,” he said.
The campaign on Crowdcube, running until the end of June, has raised almost half of its target amount in just one day. Through the campaign, people can buy shares in the company for as little as £10.
Watch our video interview with Laurence Kemball-Cook