Power-generating tiles to light Olympic walkway using footsteps

Green technology company Pavegen has deployed a set of power-generating pavement tiles in London’s West Ham tube station ahead of the Olympics.

The tiles absorb kinetic energy from people’s footsteps and turn that energy into usable electricity, with each footfall creating between five and seven Watts of energy per footfall.

At the West Ham tube station, which will be visited by a million or so people during the Olympic games, energy absorbed through Pavegen’s tiles will collectively power 12 LED floodlights, the company has said. The walkway will be lit 24 hours a day during the Olympics, entirely using tile-generated power. Any unused energy will be stored in batteries.

In addition to lighting the walkway, the Pavegen tiles will collect data about the amount of energy generated. And, using wireless transmitters embedded in each tile, that data will be published to the web and made viewable to the public.

“We want people coming to the Games to be able to do their bit for the environment and this is a great example where, literally in a few steps, people can actively contribute towards making these truly sustainable Games,” said the London Organising Committee’s head of sustainability David Stubbs.

The Pavegen tiles may not generate a massive amount of electricity in this instance, but they certainly suggest a potential for more ground-breaking applications in the future.