In a bid to become a more sustainable community, Las Vegas is taking a gamble on pedestrian-powered electricity. The city announced in March that it has partnered with a New York-based clean-technology startup to install four streetlights that will be partly powered by kinetic electricity.
In front of the streetlights, which are expected to be installed in Las Vegas’ downtown arts district come June, are sidewalks and roads with kinetic pads embedded into the surface. Inside the pads are generators, and when pedestrians step on a tile, the pressure creates kinetic energy. That energy gets converted into electricity and stored into batteries that light up the lamps at night. Solar panels on top of the streetlights will also be a source of power.
Each generator can produce up to seven watts per footstep, says Petar Mirovic, CEO of EnGoPlanet. But according to test runs they’ve done with pedestrian-powered phone-charging stations, a footstep produces four to five watts on average. How much power pedestrians will contribute will depend on the amount of foot traffic.
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