Sunday, October 16, 2011

Olympic Walkway Will Generate Electricity

Sustainable Business: Follow the yellow brick road - between the site of London's 2012 Olympics and Europe's largest mall - as you walk on it, you'll create electricity.

When you walk along the road, you're bound to step on a paver that instantly converts the kinetic energy of your footstep into electricity. And, of course, those pavers are made from recycled rubber.

The energy generated will help power the mall. In its first commercial application, just 20 slabs scattered along the road will electrify half the mall's outdoor lighting, says Laurence Kemball-Cook, who developed the prototype during his final college year in 2009. He founded Pavegen, which manufactures the pavers.

There's power in numbers. One step can keep an LED-powered street lamp lit for 30 seconds, but 30 million customers are expected to walk that path in its first year. The energy will also be stored for several days using a battery system.

Kemball-Cook has been testing the pavers at a school, where 1100 kids have been stamping on them for the last eight months.

The tiles could potentially light up everything from subways to parts of the developing world that are off-grid.

The tiles are also made with green materials - the casings are made of marine grade stainless steel and recycled polymer with low carbon concrete. The recycled rubber is from of old truck tires. And all the manufacturing is done within 200 miles of the company's headquarters, reducing the energy consumed in transportation and assembly.

Pavegen has won several awards for its product, including the Big Idea category at UK's Ethical Business Awards and Shell's LiveWire Grand Ideas Award. It's received financing from a group of angel investors.

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