AAA Drafting Blog

A SolidWorks designer talks about stuff related to CAD and mechanical design

Monday, February 01, 2010

Pavement slabs make their own power

A story in the Toronto Star really caught my attention this morning. Pavegen, a UK manufacturer of pavement slabs has come up with a pavement slab that generates electrical power just from people walking back and forth over it.

The power is generated through a piezoelectric effect much the way the needle and cartridge worked in your old vinyl turntable player. The tiny grooves in an LP record shake the needle and generate a tiny current in the cartridge. In a Pavegen slab, the vibrations come from the mass of walking humans and the current generated is fairly significant.

The company is planning to install 16,000 of these slabs in high traffic areas in London for the 2012 summer olympics. The most logical place for them is at popular bus stops where 5 of these slabs could supply as much "free" power as the bus shelter presently requires from the grid.

Some of the slabs will have LED lights built right into the slabs, rather than on light poles as is done nowadays. The light at ground level allows visibility to reduce trip hazards in addition to providing ambient light.

I can just see these slabs having applications all over the place, and if they work for foot power they surely must work better with auto traffic driving over them. It's a marvellous way to harness energy we create during our routine daily activities.


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