A new street lighting system that harnesses energy from pedestrians’ footsteps has been installed in Las Vegas in the United States.
The foot-powered fixtures were developed by EngoPlanet, a New York based start-up.
The street lights are part-powered by kinetic energy generated by footsteps, which is absorbed by tiles installed in the pavement and then channeled to the lights. Solar panels are also used to boost energy levels when footfall starts to flag.
The side-walk tiles were developed by London-based company Pavegen and they have been installed in cities around the world.
Four streetlights and eight kinetic pads were fitted in the small Arts District plaza between Main and First streets in the desert gambling hub.
Another recent installation of the tiles was at Dupont Circle in Washington DC, just minutes away from the White House, where a famous green energy skeptic will soon take up residence. Don’t expect President-elect Trump to be donating any of his kinetic energy to the city’s electrical grid any time soon.
The designers keep the exact technology behind the paving slabs secret, but it is believed to involve microgenerators that sit below the kinetic pads and create energy every time someone steps on them.
Each footstep can create four to eight watts, depending on the pressure of the step, which is then channeled to the lighting.
Pavegen claims that each pedestrian generates an average of five watts per footstep at 12-48 volts DC, which is enough to run an LED street lamp for thirty seconds.
EngoPlanet’s street lamps were designed in conjunction with Pavegen and they also provide wi-fi hotspots and charging stations.
The company claims that there are more than 300 million street lights around the world, which cost more than 40 billion dollars to run and release more than 100 million tons of carbon dioxide every year. These are figures it hopes the new technology will start to dent.
The lights are also being installed in Philadelphia and Saint Louis, and further afield in Oman.