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2012-05-18. Tiles May Help Shrink Carbon Footprint by Harnessing Pedestrian Power |

posted Aug 9, 2012, 8:32 AM by Alan Gould
by Thomas K. Grose, National Geographic News. An article relevant to GSS Energy Use chapter 10. Excerpt: This summer at the largest urban mall in Europe, visitors may notice something different at their feet. Twenty bright green rubber tiles will adorn one of the outdoor walkways at the Westfield Stratford City Mall, which abuts the new Olympic stadium in east London. …They are designed to collect the kinetic energy created by the estimated 40 million pedestrians who will use that walkway in a year, generating several hundred kilowatt-hours of electricity from their footsteps. That's enough to power half the mall's outdoor lighting. The slabs are produced by Pavegen Systems, a London startup launched in 2009 by Laurence Kemball-Cook, a fresh-faced, 26-year-old Londoner who developed his clean energy idea while earning a degree in industrial design and technology at Loughborough University. The 17.7-by-23.6-inch (45-by-60-centimeter) tiles are designed to be used wherever pedestrians congregate en masse: transportation hubs such as train, subway, and bus stations; airports; schools; malls; bustling shopping avenues. The power generated from millions of footfalls can be used to operate a range of low-power applications, including lighting, signs, digital ads, and Wi-Fi zones. …On average, one footstep generates 7 watts of electricity, though the amount varies depending on a person's weight. Each step pushes the rubber down a mere 5 millimeters, or a fraction of an inch.  …The tiles have also impressed Matthew Baxter, the head teacher (principal) at Langton Grammar—Kemball-Cook's alma mater—who said his 1,100 "boisterous boys" have truly put them to a punishing test over the past two years. "They've taken a pummeling, but they're fine." While initially a novelty that students delighted in jumping on, the slabs have since become a normal part of the school—albeit one that's encouraged the boys to think about clean energy. … Read the full article: http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/energy/2012/05/120518-floor-tiles-turn-footfalls-to-electricity/