The long journey for a sustainable society begins with what? Yes, a single step. And also with developing sustainable infrastructure. If we, human beings, aka wastoids of energy, could generate electricity just from our usual daily activity called “walking”, wouldn’t that make us useful? Wouldn’t a small step be a giant leap for mankind?
Now, dear Millennials, step aside, for we will introduce you to a British company Pavegen, which made the above possible.
Energy is one of the essential things that the humanity cannot live without. It’s as important as water or food. Also, you might not have noticed yet, but electricity charges our iPhones and whatnot, without energy, neither our public service functions nor our fridges.
These days, on a global scale, a clean & sustainable energy is researched and developed as the substitute to the conventional, say, fossil fuel or nuclear energy. Here, we will introduce you the Pavegen panels that generate electricity using people’s steps.
Energy: Take a Step and Get Electricity
Literally, the first step to building a smart city is to start with enhancing conventional streets and roads. The Pavegen technology is a “multifunctional custom flooring system”. In short, Pavegen is a tile that people can step on and generate electricity. The technology works by applying weight on electromagnetic induction generators and thereby causing a vertical displace to generate electricity.
Also, Pavegen collects and analyzes real-time, detailed data from footsteps. Constant analyze & update enables customers to access data such as consumers’ footstep patterns, heatmaps and so on.
Pavegen is not a public power company. It’s a private firm. Thus, they can provide a less restricted and unique service to customers. The amazing feature is that when a customer connects to Pavegen and walks over it, the steps will be converted to a digital currency. Accumulated digital currency can, later on, be used to reward loyalty or for charity. Pavegen regards the generated energy as a form of currency. This kind of unique idea contributes to connect users and company’s products closer.
The tiles are designed with integrity and sleekness guaranteeing the safe usage both indoors and outdoors. The surface of the tiles is customizable and can be used as an ad-placer. As for the generated energy, it is converted to electricity to be used in street lights or for the smart lightning that is compatible with Pavegen tiles.
Step-by-step Installing Pavegen All Over the World!
(above photo is from the 2012 Olympics installation ©️ Pavegen)
Pavegen is successfully installed in various countries around the world including the UK, France, South Africa, Kazakhstan and so many more! Shopping malls have them, schools have them and even airports now have Pavegen. Step on it! Get Pavegen Installed!
<Interview starts below>
(Marked as The Millennials™️: TM, Pavegen: PVG)
TM: Could you share the story behind your brand? What inspired you or motivated you to establish Pavegen?
PVG: Laurence Kemball-Cook came up with the idea for Pavegen in 2009, inspired by the desire to help do something about climate change. While at Loughborough University, he won a placement with a major European energy company to look at renewable energy solutions for street lighting. Laurence left, having failed to make wind or solar work for lighting in dense cities, but was inspired by the research he was carrying out.
Around this time, Laurence was regularly using Victoria train station, which has around 75 million visitors rushing through it each year. He realised that there might be potential to harness some of that human kinetic energy and convert it into off-grid electricity.
From there he developed the first Pavegen prototype, a rectangular device that contained a single generator. But as an unproven technology, he had nowhere to validate his invention. In the end, he made a risky decision to install a Pavegen tile on a building site, without permission. Laurence took some photos, posted them online, and then used social media to try to persuade the developer to invest in a Pavegen system. It worked.
TM: The technology you use looks very innovative. However, I can’t help but wonder if you had any difficulties in developing this technology? Have you had any obstacles?
PVG: Launching a new technology that operates in urban environments was always going to be challenging. Unlike an app, we’re designing and building a complex physical product that must operate reliably in all conditions. City streets are constantly undergoing challenges, from extreme temperature variations to a wide range of forces and impacts. Engineering this versatility into our system has been a big challenge, and it has been a highly iterative process to get to where our design is today. Our latest model comes as a modular system to simplify the installation process. Using this system, we were able to deploy a 20-square metre array, just off Oxford Street in two days, during 2017.
TM: Data collection might be a tricky feature these days. Could you tell me how you are protecting the data accumulated from Pavegen?
PVG: The walkways contain embedded Low-Power Bluetooth beacons which can register the footsteps of individuals via our apps. When we combine this real-time footfall data with analytics, we create powerful insights into the behaviours of people interacting with our systems. Data protection is something that is incredibly important to us, because of this we have a permission-based app. As soon as you sign up for our app there are clear signposts to inform the user about the type of data we are collecting. Alongside this, data collection is only active when someone is walking over a Pavegen array with their Bluetooth on. – We have worked out a way that ensures customers are able to collect and maximize rewards, while also enduring data collected is protected.
TM: Do you have any plans to expand your business to a larger market e.g., to distribute and place Pavegen to more countries around the world?
PVG: We have delivered over 200 experiential and permanent projects in 30 countries. Our installations create really high engagement for people using them and we have been lucky that media organizations closely follow our progress, taking our reach into the millions. In June 2018, we will be working with New West End Company on the redevelopment of a street in Marylebone, London. Other confirmed projects include shopping centres and major projects in transport hubs in the UAE, USA and Thailand, as well as schools and universities in the US and UK.
With fast-growing revenues, we will be refining our product offering. We’re currently working on a range of enhancements, including offering more data on how people interact with our walkways, increasing the efficiency of our systems and expanding the range of applications that we power.
We’re also growing our team across the full suite of disciplines, to meet an increasing demand and to capitalize on partnerships that we have nurtured and which are now producing significant opportunities.
Our focus is on delivering more permanent installations in the world’s most innovative cities. In the coming weeks and months, we have a number of exciting projects to add to this list, including an installation in one of the Middle East’s key airports, our first ever supermarket and a new permanent site in London’s West End.
We’ve just signed a Memorandum of Understanding with global engineering and technology leader Siemens. Our shared plan is to integrate our technology into the company’s future city projects. We’ll initially be looking at projects in transport infrastructure and mixed-use developments. It’s going to be busy.
TM: What is your future plan as a brand?
PVG: We plan to be in every city around the world. We will work to increase the efficiency of our product, drive costs down and continue to innovate new products that will help make our cities smarter and healthier places to live and work.
TM: Could you give a message to the readers of our media?
PVG: From climate change to rapidly expanding cities, we face complex environmental and social challenges. Technology alone won’t make cities perform more efficiently. It’s about changing behaviours. Our technology enables people to directly engage with clean energy, to increase their understanding of sustainability issues, and to generate useful off-grid energy. Pavegen’s combination of physical interactivity and rich data is helping to bring smart cities to life. Forget the internet of things, we’re building the internet of beings.
Wanna Know More? Go to the Official Website of Pavegen
👞The Millennials™️ 👟