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Saturday, Feb. 24
The Indiana Daily Student

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Pedestrians to power London

As our world’s supply of natural resources continues to dwindle and the race to find alternative forms of energy ensues, one U.K.-based company seems to have found a solution that capitalizes on the one thing busy cities like London have plenty of – pedestrian traffic.
In a city of more than 7 million people, it is estimated that more than 11 trillion steps are taken each day in London. Imagine harvesting that energy into something that could be used to power essential urban infrastructure like tube stations, bus stops and crosswalks.

Pavegen Systems has done just that with the invention of foot-powered electricity generators in the form of green pavement slabs.

These green pavement slabs are made of rubber produced from 100 percent recycled car tires. In the center of each slab is a small disc, which compresses approximately five millimeters when stepped on. The compression of the slab leads to the conversion of the kinetic energy of the pedestrian’s footstep into electricity, which can then be stored in either an internal battery or sent along a wire to a light source.

Groupings of slabs in the vicinity of an area requiring electricity (i.e., a tube station) form networks of energy that can be harvested to power the adjacent facility.

These sorts of groupings have already been tested and deemed a success in London thus far. The next testing will take place this summer when the slabs will be installed on staircases in a major tube station in an attempt to harvest the power of pedestrian traffic on these staircases to supply a portion of the tube station’s energy needs.

Although it has not yet been revealed in which tube station this test will take place, Pavegen Systems has said it is a “major tube station” and that the goal will be providing “at least 25 percent of the station’s power” from these pavement slabs.

These tests are part of a partnership between the city of London and Pavegen, with the ultimate goal of installing around 16,000 of these pavement slabs in the city by the 2012 Summer Olympics.

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