Langton Student Features in National Geographic!
The following is an abstract from an article published in the May edition of National Geographic. The full article can be found at http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/energy/2012/05/120518-floor-tiles-turn-footfalls-to-electricity/
At Simon Langton Grammar School near Canterbury, England, specially designed floor tiles translate student footfalls to electricity that powers the corridor's lighting.
The slabs are produced by Pavegen Systems, a London startup launched in 2009 by Laurence Kemball-Cook, a fresh-faced, 26-year-old Londoner who developed his clean energy idea while earning a degree in industrial design and technology at Loughborough University. The 17.7-by-23.6-inch (45-by-60-centimeter) tiles are designed to be used wherever pedestrians congregate en masse: transportation hubs such as train, subway, and bus stations; airports; schools; malls; bustling shopping avenues. The power generated from millions of footfalls can be used to operate a range of low-power applications, including lighting, signs, digital ads, and Wi-Fi zones.
For two years now, four of its tiles have lined a hallway at the Simon Langton Grammar School for Boys near Canterbury, capturing energy from footfalls of its 1,100 students to keep the corridor lit. Pavegen has also harnessed music festival attendees' foot-stamping to charge cell phones and power LED lights.
The tiles have impressed Matthew Baxter, the head teacher (principal) at Langton Grammar—Kemball-Cook's alma mater—who said his 1,100 "boisterous boys" have truly put them to a punishing test over the past two years. "They've taken a pummeling, but they're fine." While initially a novelty that students delighted in jumping on, the slabs have since become a normal part of the school—albeit one that's encouraged the boys to think about clean energy. "They've sparked an interest in sustainable technology in a number of our students," Baxter said.
Pavegen is initially targeting low-power applications, but Kemball-Cook envisions larger installations that could handle greater power demands. For instance, he said, there's no reason why the tiles couldn't power an entire music festival, heavy-duty amps and all. Ultimately, Kemball-Cook wants to see thousands of Pavegen tiles permanently embedded in urban areas worldwide, turning cities into power plants.
"That's my dream," he said. He hopes to accomplish it one step at a time.