The 37th Paris marathon saw 40,000 runners take to the streets with an eco-friendly twist today. The runners' energy is being harvested using Pavegen paving tiles which will convert energy generated from each footstep into storable electricity. The power generated by the runners' efforts is being used to run display screens and even some lighting along the marathon route.
The operation is relatively small scale with 25 metres of tiles, each made from recycled tyres; but each footstep can translate to 8 watts of energy. Pavegen, the company behind the technology hope to see it employed in cities around the world, and are working on reducing the costs to make this a viable option for governments. So far the technology has been demonstrated in small degrees including at the London 2012 Olympics and in a display where mobile phones were charged by dancing.
“Pavegen could play a key role in the smart cities of the future,” said Laurence Kemball-Cook, the British inventor of the technology, “imagine if your run or walk to work could help to power the lights for your return journey home in the evening.” He went on to describe his invention as “the opportunity for a viable new type of off-grid energy technology that people love to use and which can make a low-carbon contribution wherever there is high footfall, regardless of the weather.”
The tiles can be spotted at the start of the race on the famous avenue, Camps-Élysées. The route then takes in the city's major attractions, snaking past icons like the Notre-Dame Cathedral, Musée d'Orsay and the Eiffel tower. The Paris event is one of several major marathons taking place this month, with Italy's Milan's marathon also on Sunday 7th April and the London marathon just two weeks later.