7 watts, or even somewhat less...
... would probably be enough for some minimal LED lighting for dark spaces without otherwise reliable light or power.
But, I suppose, wildly over-promising pulls in the more "optimistic" investors rather better?
A company selling floor tiles which extract tiny, pointless amounts of energy from crowds walking across them is seeking fresh investment through the medium of crowdfunding. The company in question is Pavegen, which we've covered before. The firm is the brainchild of Laurence Kemball-Cook, who describes himself in a press …
This is in the same idiotic league as "look how much energy the country would save by unplugging all those phone chargers when they're not being used". It looks impressive in kWh but -- as McKay says -- adding a lot of minute numbers together still makes a tiny number compared to real energy usage.
Anybody proposing *anything* like this should be forced to read "Sustainable Energy -- Without the Hot Air" and pass an exam on the contents before they're allowed to spout technobabble on energy generation/consumption.
Marvellous Mackay reference, thank you. He's not perfect, nor is the book, better suggestions welcome, but for now it's the best there is as a starting point based on facts, numbers, and scientific logic.
And for those who've forgotten how to use a search engine: the book is freely downloadable via
Or to encourage everyone to subsist on a diet of baked beans and walk around with a "gas" bag over their bums.
The first 100% renewable food supply:
1. Eat beans.
2. Fart into bag
3. Collect bags and burn gas to power bean processing factory, farming equipment and even provide fuel for the lorries which deliver.
It's amazing that no-one has though of this before. Please crowd fund me for 20 million pounds so I can live the high life, oops sorry, start the investment process to take this project to the world.
"Even if you converted every footpath in the country, the unpleasant experience of walking on a spongy (or constantly clicking) surface would have us all walking in the road."
Actually, that's probably the only good point these things have. There's a reason so many shoes have some sort of air cushion these days, and anyone who does any running knows how much nicer it is to run on dirt (dry and fairly hard, not knee deep mud obviously) or (short) grass than concrete. Having a surface with a very slight give to it rather than the usual concrete and tarmac would be much better for everyone's knees, as long as it's not so much as to actually feel spongy.
Kim Jung whatever could use this to make an energy profit from the regular marches he organises with high energy (?) footfalls?
Or get those in prison camps to walk a lot - for their health?
Now could this be part of a solution for obesity? :)
Mines the one with lead lining - to make me more productive..
> get those in prison camps to walk a lot
It's been done. An on-topic quote with respect to the power output of the human body follows:
Sir William Cubitt, a noted 19th-century civil engineer, offered a solution. He designed a treadmill for English prisons. Its aim was to generate power for mills. It looked like a very wide paddle wheel. Workers held on to a bar and climbed the paddle blades. It was like walking upstairs for hours on end. They had to keep lifting their legs. Gravity gave them no choice.
A typical treadmill shift lasted eight hours. Workers spent 40 percent of that time resting. That's a lot worse than it sounds. It meant raising the lower half of their bodies 11,000 feet per day. And yet, hard as it was, 200 men and women could hardly match the output of one water wheel.
19th-century America tried treadmills, but they didn't catch on. For a while Charleston slave-owners could rent one to punish runaway slaves. But labor was too precious to waste that way in an expanding land. We preferred to let prisoners do ugly jobs that had some purpose -- picking cotton, or breaking rock.
Cubitt's treadmill may have originally had a productive purpose. But a pound of coal could soon do the work of five men working all day on a treadmill. And labor-wasting was a serious crime in its own right, in the mind of 19th-century America.
PS Chris made the same point while I was cuttin' an' pastin'
A quick Google show dozens of ideas for the same thing, they actually have working flooring to generate electricity in a Tokyo station at the turnstile area. I am sure the first I ever heard of the idea was in the seventies in a New Scientist article. There was also an installation at Stanford University in a student canteen or something.
I'm vaguely remembering something related to using the motion of vehicles along a road surface, and a moving plate in the road, to generate electricity. Maybe specifically targeted at car parks (where there'd be fewer issues relating to high dynamic stresses?)?
Probably a bit more energy per m2 of ground area in a mall's car park than in a mall's corridor. Maybe.
Could have sworn I read about it here first, can't seem to find any helpful keywords to find it again.
Be interesting to know what happened to it.
Something's afoot here (and not just the article picture from MPFC).
Anybody want to sign up to Crowdcube and post a link back from their forum to back here, and/or to Mackay's book, and/or to Loughborough's proper engineering department or any of the many others who could demolish the "power generation" aspects of this project in double quick time?
> using the motion of vehicles along a road surface, and a moving plate in the road, to generate electricity.
The problem with that is that the vehicle would seem to be going slightly uphill, or like driving through molasses. Thus they would use more fuel than the generation of energy would warrant. The only point of it being that the car owner pays for the additional fuel use and the road owner gets the energy.
Same with walking: the pedestrian needs to buy more 'fuel' (food) after waling 'uphill'.
Exactly. The laws of thermodynamics at work, ye canna change the laws of physics.
That's why I'm hoping someone else remembers the car park thing: that it was tried, tested, failed, and written about somewhere.
There tends to be less publicity for the failures and shutdowns than for the launches though, as exemplified by cold fusion, perpetual motion opportunities, etc, even though it's perfectly obvious it's not going to have a happy ending.
The problem with that is that the vehicle would seem to be going slightly uphill, or like driving through molasses. Thus they would use more fuel
You could combine that with a speed camera - rather than sending a paltry fine through the post, you just extract all the excess energy from a speeding car, slowing him to the speed limit and also extracting valuable power...
I have always had is to collect some sea water mid ocean and boil it off to make salt. it can then be called pelagic salt and I can ascribe all sorts of mystical bullshit to it in order to sell it for a fortune in Covent Garden. After all, some idiot does that for rock salt from the Himalayas.
Beer because, I would be able to get lots of it if the idea took off.
... Laurence Kemball-Cook, who describes himself in a press release today as an "industrial design engineer".
"... Kemball-Cook graduated in 2009 with a bachelor's degree in "industrial design and technology", ..."
Can Mr Kemball-Cook tell in which Chartered Institute of Engineering he has member or fellow status?
As with all completely idiotic micro-generating schemes, there must be an obscenely large feed in tariff awarded to the owners of the stodgy pavement kit, paid for the general public through their energy bills. This however is far worse than wind or solar, in that the poor general public would not only have to pay for it, but do the generation themselves too.
Well, feed-in tariffs -- as a way to encourage investment in renewable generation technology -- are still way less open to fraud than up-front grants for equipment that never gets installed. You have to get your solar panels, wind turbine, hydroelectric generator or CHP plant actually up and running and officially certified, before you get to see any government money, and each person gets less of it than the person before. But that's OK because the capital cost of the equipment is decreasing with economies of scale, and the wholesale price of energy (which you get paid on top of the FiT) is increasing as fossil fuels run out.
However, generating electricity from flooring is never going to work. For one thing, walking on it will be a bit like walking through mud, requiring more effort to take each step .....
...is not a mathematical moron. He studied Civil and Industrial engineering at Bucharest University. After graduating, he worked as a structural engineer in Romania, his first job designing pump stations for a state-run business. This was behind the Iron Curtain where, if you didn't get the maths right, you and your family suffered.
So he knows that it's rubbish. Which is why he's not putting any money in. But you have to ask the 1M$ question - why is he praising it?
And the answer to that is the same reason that scientists are falling over themselves to claim that 'Climate Change' will kill us all, and that politicians are claiming that war in the Middle East is what the West should be encouraging, and that the Saatchi brothers are claiming that Tracy Emin is a great artist. It's because humans have a 'herd mentality' and they follow weird, provably wrong ideas all the time, because social pressure stops people saying that 'the Emperor has no clothes'.
Charles Mackay wrote a book about it. Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds . You can pick up a copy from Amazon for only a few pounds...
A new take on Pavegen...
I am all for new startups making it...one however needs a business plan...and the plan should identify "expected payback period".
So if one invests say £10,000 in a new venture you would want to start making a profit in say 3-5 years.
If we turned Pavegen into a PUC (Power Utility Company) they could then sell their kW-hours to the public. Probably at 15p per kW hour to get a good start....maybe more...
If the Pavegen cost of a 10m x 2m tile installation is say £10,000 (£500/square metre) then at 7w per tile normalised to say 3 people wide by 15 people deep we would get 45, say 50 people continuously walking on the tiles. Thus at 7 watts/tile (or perhaps more accurately as 50 people per tile installation), one would generate say 350 watts for the period of foot-fall. For a 10 hour foot-fall this is 3,5kw-hours per day.
Thus one can estimate a payback period.
The key to Pavegen revenue could however be enhanced if they can gain a key opportunity in another domain...say advertising...like self powered advertising could be one route...like a green advertising platform...
Anyhow I am keen for all new tech companies to make it and I wish Pavegen well.
Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019