Engineering Innovation Podcast and Radio Series

Energy In Your Step

PostedApril 9, 2017

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LEDE: In one section of town, D-C pedestrians are generating renewable energy…and may not even know it.

Randy Atkins: A Dupont Circle sidewalk is turning footsteps into electricity. Alex Johnson, from the British company Pavegen, says the technology in their sidewalk tiles generates enough power to operate nearby lighting just from people walking on it.

Alex Johnson: The impact of your footstep creates a lateral movement, so the tile flexes. That creates a rotational effect in our generators….converting kinetic energy into electricity locally.

Randy Atkins: While certainly not a replacement for power sources like solar or wind, the Pavegen tiles allow people to personally participate in the production of renewable energy.

Alex Johnson: Once people know what it is they’re standing on they tend to come back and want to stand on it again and they feel like they’re contributing something positive towards the fabric of the city.

Randy Atkins: In addition to generating light, Johnson says such sidewalks can power small sensors to monitor various things, like air quality, in the local environment. With the National Academy of Engineering, Randy Atkins, WTOP News.