Technology We Don't Need No Solar Panels; We've Got Hyper Kids!

Published on January 15th, 2013 | by Jeff McIntire-Strasburg

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We Don't Need No Solar Panels; We've Got Hyper Kids!

students in school hallway

Harvesting kinetic energy produced by people walking and moving seems like a no-brainer, and the stories we’ve seen so far focus on spaces ranging from dance floors to health clubs. But if you’ve ever been to an elementary or middle school, you know that they may well be the perfect location for such experiments – there’s a lot of energy in those hallways!

British start-up Pavegen saw that potential a few years ago, and installed one of its systems at a school in the UK for proof of concept. It worked, and now they’d like to expand this project into two more schools: another in Great Britain, and one in the US. They’ve launched a Kickstarter project to fund this expansion: take a look at their video on the first school installation to get a better sense of what they want to do:

As with other renewable energy installations at schools, the Pavegen system doesn’t just provide energy, but also educational opportunities: the system itself displays data on the energy being produced (which kids apparently find fascinating), and the company’s even developed educational materials for incorporating information from the system into science, math, and even social studies classes.

Of course, some might argue that this is the ultimate form of intermittent energy supply: it’s only being produced when school’s in session, and students and others are in the hallways. That’s a good thing in this case: schools are using the most energy when students are in class, so the Pavegen system allows the harvesting of energy when it’s most needed (though, definitely, some kind of storage system is necessary, also).

Think this is brilliant? Then consider kicking a few bucks towards their campaign. And let us know if you’ve tried out a system for harvesting kinetic energy, and what you thought.

via Renewable Energy at reddit

Image credit: Gates Foundation via photopin cc



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About the Author

Jeff McIntire-Strasburg is the founder and editor of sustainablog. You can keep up with all of his writing at Facebook, and at



  • Joe

    How about kinetic harvesting on transportation systems- highways, railroad right of ways etc. has anyone looked at the possibilities there- seems like there would be huge energy generation much more then walking

    • http://sustainablog.org Jeff McIntire-Strasburg

      Yes, they have… I don’t have a link readily available, but I’ll find it and get it in here.

  • Will

    Although this in neat technology it really amounts to stealing a small amount of work. If I heard correctly on the video they said the energy generated was used to provide “some” of the lighting in the hall and the interactive displays. I bet they aren’t really generating very much electricity. Secondly they have to make walking a little more effort to get energy from it. Energy collected from a system like this but with cars would just be energy produced using internal combustion engines and all of the cars would get slightly lower gas mileage. I believe there are better technologies needing kickstarter $.

    • http://sustainablog.org Jeff McIntire-Strasburg

      Thanks for your thoughts, Will. I would like to see numbers on this; it would also be interesting to see how this kind of kinetic energy project compares to those in other settings.

  • http://www.green-and-energy.com Thomas_G&E

    In europe a lot of controlling power is needed for the stabilization of the grid. Harvesting the kinetic energy in schools could be quite cool for this. Yet, I’m not sure about the efforts and whether it will ever pay off.

  • http://www.sunsaves.com/fountains/lighthouse_solar_powered_outdoor_water_fountain.html Diane C

    I, for one, would like to see this happen in schools even if the electricity produced was minimal. It’s a perfect way to interest young minds in innovation and the importance of using renewable energy sources.

  • Deitra Brunner

    What is the effect on the children? (Please note: I am nowhere near a science person, so this may be common knowledge, I just don’t know it—along with a world full of other stuff–lol)

    • http://sustainablog.org Jeff McIntire-Strasburg

      Good question, Deitra. I can’t imagine that there’s anything here that would be harmful, but I’m also not a “science person”…

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