Powering Lighting with Footsteps? It’s Possible.

One footstep produces enough electricity to keep an LED-powered street lamp lit for 30 seconds.

A new technology developed by an engineering student harvests the energy of a single footstep – and delivers a source of incredibly sustainable electricity.

They’re called “PaveGen” pavement slabs, and they are being installed right now at the 2012 London Olympic site.

Adding just twenty titles between the central crossing of the Olympic stadium and the Westfield Stratford City Mall “should be enough … to power about half (the mall’s) outdoor lighting needs,” said the 25-year-old who developed the prototype, Laurence Kemball-Cook.

Kemball-Cook came up with the concept in 2009 while he was in his final year of school. This will be the first commercial application for “PaveGen” slabs.

Of course, the tiles rely on collecting the energy from hundreds of thousands of footsteps to make a real difference. However, in high-traffic areas (think Times Square), that’s an easy order to fill.

“We recently came back from a big outdoor festival where we got over 250,000 footsteps – that was enough to charge 10,000 mobile phones,” said Kemball-Cook.

The slab includes an LED that lights up with each footstep, conveying the energy transfer concept to the walker. Since LEDs are so efficient, that inclusion only consumes 5% of the energy from each footstep.

For more information, see www.pavegen.com, or read the recent feature on CNN.


Emily Widle

Emily graduated from UNC Chapel Hill with a degree in journalism. She enjoys scouring the news to report on the latest in the lighting industry as well as bringing valuable remodeling tips and exemplar home projects to light.