• Convert Runners’ Footsteps into Electricity at Iconic Road Race

Green Energy

Convert Runners’ Footsteps into Electricity at Iconic Road Race

Apr 08 2013

Schneider Electric (France), the global specialist in energy management, commissioned an award-winning British cleantech firm to capture the kinetic energy from runners and spectators at this year’s Schneider Electric Paris Marathon, in the largest ever install of their unique technology.

Pavegen Systems installed over 25 metres of their energy harvesting tiles on the runner’s course, spectator-viewing platforms, and at other key points along the route.

Pavegen’s innovative design converts the kinetic energy of footfall into electricity that is stored in a battery or used to power various applications such as street lighting, advertising, information displays, and communications technology. The Pavegen tiles flex 5mm when stepped on, converting up to 8 watts of kinetic energy over the duration of the footstep, i.e. 8 joules.

Installed at sites around the world, including the London 2012 Games, the Pavegen tiles contain wireless technology that transmits data on renewable energy amounts generated by each unit. This information can be sent to any designated website for access by smartphone or computer. During the marathon, which Schneider Electric is sponsoring in a four-year deal, the data will be displayed on giant screens at strategic points along the street course.

In a gamification twist, the marathon audiences watching in Paris and around the world competed via a Facebook page to predict how much off-grid power the Pavegen tiles harvested during the marathon. The most accurate estimate won VIP access to next year’s race and the next best 50 estimates will receive prizes of GPS-enabled Garmin running watches.

Laurence Kemball-Cook, 27, inventor of the technology and CEO of Pavegen Systems says: “Pavegen could play a key role in the smart cities of the future. Imagine if your run or walk to work could help to power the lights for your return journey home in the evening.

The marathon installation will help more communities and organisations see the opportunity for a viable new type of off-grid energy technology that people love to use and which can make a low-carbon contribution wherever there is high footfall, regardless of the weather.”

Aaron Davis, Schneider Electric’s Chief Marketing Officer said: “The mission of Schneider Electric is to help people make the most of their energy, by becoming more efficient, reducing energy waste, fighting against climate change for example, each time carrying out wide-ranging collective actions engaging as many people as possible.

“In the long-term, our ambition is to make the Schneider Electric Paris Marathon the first energy positive race in the world.”

For the Paris Marathon on Sunday 7th April, Pavegen tiles spanned the iconic Champs-Élysées to form a renewable energy section of the course, where over 50,000 runners competed to win the 26 mile and 385 yard (42.195 km) race. Pavegen tiles were also at the Running Expo entrance where competitors collect their race numbers, bibs and RFID tags for race timing, and where visitors can access stalls and information both before and during the race.


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