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Energy Mobility

133: Energy paths

Problem:

With the transition from fossil fuel to electrical energy, the exponential demand will need the widest variety of sources.

Solution:

Another clean system for generating electricity makes use of piezo materials (usually in the form of the mineral quartz, topaz, or lead zirconate titanate), where the simple act of walking or jumping or driving a vehicle over a surface can generate electricity.


This challenge has been taken on by Laurence Kemball-Cook, an undergraduate studying Industrial Design and Technology at Loughborough University, England. Following the publicity generated by a short demonstration film of his PaveGen tiles posted on his website Kemball-Cook, was awarded US$ 13,000 prize and struck a US$ 250,000 deal with one of the largest urban shopping centers in Europe, Westfield in London. PaveGen received orders from at Heathrow Airport”s Terminal Three and entered into collaboration with the US government.

In Lagos, Nigeria, the tiles have been installed under a soccer field, enabling players to light up the entire field during a match. A second generation of PavGen tiles is triangular in shape, with a generator in each corner to maximize energy output. In addition to power generation, PaveGen can use Bluetooth to connect to smartphone applications and the system can also communicate with building management systems.

Caveat to this solution is that when the PaveGen is not being walked on it does not generate energy, this problem occurs if the tile is placed somewhere that is crowded but at times does not receive any people on it which causes it to not generate energy. But this problem can be largely avoided by just placing the tiles in places that always receive people such as the subway stations of New York or other similarly crowded cities.

At the NASA Kennedy Space Center’s Visitor Complex at Cape Canaveral, Florida, in 2017, Ilan Stern, a senior research scientist with the Georgia Tech Research Institute, and colleagues, collaborated on a project supported by NASA contractor Delaware North Corporation to build a 40,000 ft² (3,700 m²) lighted outdoor piezoelectric footpath.

What you can do: Tell town councils near you about energy paths, wand walk along them whenever possible

Discover Solution 134: Energy roads

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