London-based green tech company Pavegen recently announced a new partnership with SNCF to install its energy-producing floor tiles in SNCF’s Innovation and Research Office in Paris. Producing floor tiles capable of converting the kinetic energy of human footsteps into renewable energy, their installation in this corridor will power all of the LED strip lighting in the hallway, as well as an interactive interface allowing users to see the their impact and energy production.
This announcement may seem small, but it comes from a young company with a very intriguing technology. The floor tiles are mostly meant to reduce energy consumption, but they can be a particularly “innovative lighting solution in urban environments where wind and solar are ineffective,” but where there is much human foot traffic. For example, the tiles were installed beneath the surface of a soccer field in a poorer neighborhood of Rio De Janeiro, where in conjunction with solar panels, produced enough energy to power batteries that provided a neighborhood with 10 hours of lighting.
Pavegen has other impressive projects too. It has projects in London Heathrow, and is already working with SNCF. 14 tiles were installed outside St. Omer train station, and are used to power USB charging ports as well as outside lighting underneath benches. It has partnered with companies such as GDF Suez as well.
What I find most impressive about Pavegen is its vision. According to Pavegen CEO Laurence Kemball-Cook, Pavegen seeks to be “the main energy source for lighting in rail stations [across France]” by “installing our technology across every train station in France.” They see their technology being useful in not only lighting, but also phone charging ports, as well as powering ticket machines in rail stations. I like the audacity to think big.
While Pavegen has no official timeline for implementing these goals, they will be a company to keep an eye on this year. They have “new up-coming installations with well-established clients” which are still to be seen, and fund raised over $1 million by the end of last year.
I am a fan of this technology and of this company. As I said earlier, I like that it’s going after all of the train stations in France, a massive undertaking, with a very interesting technology that really couldn’t possibly pose much resistance. Who could honestly be bothered by the floor they’re stepping on? It is a great solution to reducing energy consumption from traditional sources, and reducing costs as well. With their interest in transit services, I personally think it would be really compelling to see what a partnership with a train manufacturer would look like to power the lighting inside the trains. This is especially because of how much power is needed for a train in the first place. For now, Pavegen has some exciting growth to watch over the next year. I’m interested to see what 2015 will look like for them, and the floors they will affect.