In recent years, there has been a growing interest in finding new ways to generate clean and sustainable energy. One of the more innovative and promising methods involves harvesting energy from pedestrian traffic. As people walk, run, or climb stairs, they generate kinetic energy that can be converted into electricity through a variety of energy-harvesting technologies. These technologies range from energy-generating stairs and smart tiles to more advanced systems like The Walker @ the AFAS experience center.
By harnessing the power of pedestrian traffic, we can reduce our dependence on traditional energy sources and promote sustainability in public spaces. In this blog post, we’ll explore some of the latest energy-harvesting technologies and real-world examples of their use.
Here are three new technologies that are available now to harness energy from pedestrians
1. Piezoelectric tiles
Piezoelectric tiles are one of the most common technologies used to harness energy from pedestrian traffic. These tiles are embedded in the ground and generate electricity when they are compressed by the weight of people walking on them. The tiles are made of a piezoelectric material that generates an electrical charge when subjected to mechanical stress.
Piezoelectric tiles can be used in a variety of applications. They can be installed in public spaces such as parks, plazas, and sidewalks to generate electricity that can be used to power lights, sensors, and other low-power devices. They can also be installed in high-traffic areas such as airports and train stations to generate more energy.
2. Kinetic Pavements
Kinetic pavements are similar to piezoelectric tiles but designed to generate more energy. They use a more advanced technology that allows them to generate energy not only when compressed, but also when flexed.
Kinetic pavements are typically made of a composite material that contains piezoelectric fibers. The fibers are embedded in the pavement and generate electricity when they are flexed by the weight of people or vehicles passing over them. The electricity generated by kinetic pavements can be used to power a variety of applications, including streetlights, vehicles, or other electronic devices.
The Stockholm Odenplan subway station in Sweden has installed energy-generating stairs to power the station’s lights. The stairs generate electricity through the kinetic energy produced by people walking up and down them. The energy is then stored in batteries and used to power the station’s lighting system.
The energy-generating stairs not only provide a sustainable source of energy but also serve as an innovative and interactive addition to the subway station. The stairs are designed to light up as people walk on them, creating a unique visual display that encourages people to use the stairs instead of the escalator.
So how much energy can we gain from pedestrians?
The amount of energy that can be gained from pedestrians depends on several factors, such as the number of people walking, their weight, and the frequency and intensity of their footsteps.
For example, The Walker sidewalk technology installed in Rotterdam’s Smart City district, which we will discuss in detail further on, can generate power for 320 people to charge their mobile phones for one year long or for an electric car to drive about 4000 kilometers.
While the amount of energy generated by pedestrian traffic may not be enough to power entire cities, it can certainly play a significant role in reducing energy costs and promoting sustainability. As more energy-harvesting technologies are developed and deployed, we may see even more innovative ways to harness the power of pedestrian traffic for the benefit of our communities and the environment.
Kinetic Walker @ AFAS experience center
The AFAS Experience Center is a cutting-edge establishment that serves not only as a workplace for employees but also as a state-of-the-art destination for businesses throughout The Netherlands. This novel building, owned by a Dutch family company specializing in software product development, is a hub for sustainability, a matter for which we were solicited to provide a solution.
The experience center’s atrium, situated between the AFAS office building and a public theatre, is the centerpiece of the building. In the atrium, our kinetic energy floors have been installed in a polygon shape with an infinity design overlay. An energy meter has been installed in a visible location to inform visitors about the number of calories they have burned, the amount of energy generated by their footsteps, and the amount of energy that has been converted into electricity.
Apart from the kinetic energy floors, the AFAS Experience Center is equipped with energy-efficient LED lighting, solar control glazing, and an eco-friendly climate system.
In conclusion, energy generated by pedestrian traffic can be a valuable renewable energy source. Piezoelectric tiles, kinetic pavements, and energy-generating stairs are just a few of the new technologies available to harness clean energy in the future.