Kinetic Pavers Turn Foot Traffic into Power

By Brielle Scott

Call it a step in the right direction: The steady stream of pedestrian commuters in Washington, D.C.’s Dupont Circle area are now able to generate enough electricity to keep the lights on at a nearby park.

This is because the tangram-style geometric pattern walkers see embedded in the sidewalk accomplishes more than meets the eye: Each triangle is a kinetic paver which allows for the collection and conversion of steps to usable energy. The tiles, made from recycled polymer and truck tires, are depressed slightly with the force of a footstep and spin a flywheel that generates the energy underfoot. This energy is stored and later used to illuminate LED lights under park benches in the area for up to six hours.

Pavegen, the company behind the cutting-edge technology, estimates that 10,000 people will pass over the kinetic tiles each day. The London-based company collaborated with the District Department of Transportation and Golden Triangle Business Improvement District (BID) on the project, which earned a $200,000 grant from city environmental initiative Sustainable DC.

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