Electricity has a great role in almost every aspect of the industry. There are numerous sources to generate electricity e.g nuclear power, solar energy, fossil fuels, etc. However, these energy sources are not perpetual, meaning that it would run out at a certain point in time. Not to mention the amount of pollutant contribute to the environment. This issue had brought attention to discovering or create other possible energy sources, one of the ideas was the kinetic footfall. Kinetic footfall absorbs the energy from human footfall to generate electrical energy, and most important this will not contribute to any environmental pollutions.
This system would be perfect if fitted to crowded areas such as shopping centers, airports railway stations, and other high-density walking areas. The most suitable surface to collect the kinetic energy are road pavements and footpaths.
Pavegen, a UK-based technology company, has developed an energy-harvesting tile, made of recycled tires that flexes by 5-mm when stepped, generating up to 8 watts of kinetic energy during footstep duration. Consider every footstep creates 3 joules of energy, it could light a LED street lamp for 30 seconds. With enough tiles and footsteps, this system can generate enough energy to be stored in batteries or transferred to other electrical items.
The kinetic footfall is based on the piezoelectricity principle. When the material compressed the atoms together, it is enough to change the properties of electrons. When the pressure is removed, the electrons return to their original shape. The returned electrons will be captured with an auxiliary circuit and used to create a micro-circuit. The electrons will be received by the piezoelectric compound constructed under the energy floor or footpath. Then, the pressure is developed when humans start to walk on this floor. The pressure or kinetic energy will be collected by the piezoelectric compounds of the floor. Then the energy floor converts the kinetic energy into electrical energy.
In 2017, Pavegen built a sidewalk in Bird Street, London, providing birdsong by day, and light at night. In fact, Pavegen partnered up with Google for Berlin’s 2017 Festival of Lights to convert footsteps into off-grid energy. The result was a synchronized lighting display across a record-breaking 26 square meters, that lit up 176 light panels embedded in its walls and generated massively more than 100.000 joules of energy within the first three days.
What is kinetic pavement? (n.d). Retrieved July 31, 2020, from https://www.ovoenergy.com/blog/technology-and-innovation/kinetic-pavements-are-giving-a-whole-new-meaning-to-power-walking.html