Author Topic: Pavegen Footstep Energy Harvesting - Pre-Bust  (Read 4328 times)

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Offline EEVblog

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Pavegen Footstep Energy Harvesting - Pre-Bust
« on: March 03, 2017, 12:58:30 pm »
Some comments on the Pavegen pavement footstep energy harvesting system extracted from my live show, because many people have asked for it.

 

Offline josecamoessilva

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Re: Pavegen Footstep Energy Harvesting - Pre-Bust
« Reply #1 on: March 03, 2017, 01:07:51 pm »
There was a proposal sometime ago for electricity-generating shoes, to charge personal devices (phones, watches) too.

Note that elliptical machines and stationary bikes have to be plugged in to work and no one seems to have built a gym-quality one that can use the exercise to charge a battery so that they can work off the grid.

(Wasn't the whole taming of animals, and industrial revolution btw, a move away from using human muscle as power source? Walking on a surface that gives is a lot more tiring than on a solid surface.)
« Last Edit: March 03, 2017, 01:10:25 pm by josecamoessilva »
 

Online Brumby

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Re: Pavegen Footstep Energy Harvesting - Pre-Bust
« Reply #2 on: March 03, 2017, 02:43:43 pm »
Walking on a surface that gives is a lot more tiring than on a solid surface.

Aside from all the other problems, this is the one that will have people actively avoiding these things.

They just aren't going to be practical except, perhaps, in some obscure application.
 

Offline HAL-42b

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Re: Pavegen Footstep Energy Harvesting - Pre-Bust
« Reply #3 on: March 03, 2017, 02:56:11 pm »
(Wasn't the whole taming of animals, and industrial revolution btw, a move away from using human muscle as power source? Walking on a surface that gives is a lot more tiring than on a solid surface.)

Well, we invented the whole automobile thing so we have something to drive to the gym.
 

Offline mmagin

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Re: Pavegen Footstep Energy Harvesting - Pre-Bust
« Reply #4 on: March 03, 2017, 03:04:04 pm »
Note that elliptical machines and stationary bikes have to be plugged in to work and no one seems to have built a gym-quality one that can use the exercise to charge a battery so that they can work off the grid.

The commercial-grade Precor eliptical trainers do just fine with no power connection as long as you use them often enough to charge the sealed lead acid battery in them.  I have one that we bought used.  It has a simple belt-driven alternator in the back section, and to provide resistance in addition to any battery charging it has a pair of BIG power resistors.

You can't build a treadmill this way, but I think a stationary bike would work too.
 

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Re: Pavegen Footstep Energy Harvesting - Pre-Bust
« Reply #5 on: March 03, 2017, 04:33:01 pm »
Back when I worked at Intel, their gym had stationary bicycles with USB ports for charging tablets and smartphones. (I'm pretty sure the only energy storage they have is a supercap or flywheel - it takes a little effort to get it started and it turns off a few seconds after stopping.) The idea being that you could watch some videos or even participate in an online meeting during exercise. I think it's an excellent idea that could be improved with various quick charge standards to actually get a decent amount of charge in a reasonable time.
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Offline max_torque

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Re: Pavegen Footstep Energy Harvesting - Pre-Bust
« Reply #6 on: March 04, 2017, 02:09:23 am »
Not to mention that moving pavements would be a nightmare for elderly, infirm, disabled or partially sighted users!

Our pavements are rubbish enough without being made deliberately hard to walk along! (for no significant energy recovery and a terrible ROI)
 

Offline Twoflower

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Re: Pavegen Footstep Energy Harvesting - Pre-Bust
« Reply #7 on: March 04, 2017, 02:59:15 am »
That's not new. Just look for energy harvesting dancefloor. Yes it looks lots like the f...g Solar Roardway. And its 10 years old: .

[edit]
Actually there's another video ("The Sustainable Dancefloor - Dean Deswick - GE FOCUS FORWARD") which shows that they get about 5-7W if one person is jumping on it.
[/edit]
« Last Edit: March 04, 2017, 03:06:00 am by Twoflower »
 

Offline jonovid

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Re: Pavegen Footstep Energy Harvesting - Pre-Bust
« Reply #8 on: March 04, 2017, 03:33:27 am »
Quote
That's not new. Just look for energy harvesting dancefloor. Yes it looks lots like the f...g Solar Roardway. And its 10 years old
jumping on it may get it to light up like   :bullshit: Solar Roardway :-DD

however energy harvesting from methane gas captured from landfills or effluent treatment plants does work
« Last Edit: March 04, 2017, 03:40:47 am by jonovid »
Hobby of evil genius      basic knowledge of electronics
 

Offline Zbig

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Re: Pavegen Footstep Energy Harvesting - Pre-Bust
« Reply #9 on: March 04, 2017, 04:48:06 am »
The thing must feel like you're stepping in a new dog shit with each and every step :-+
 

Offline CatalinaWOW

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Re: Pavegen Footstep Energy Harvesting - Pre-Bust
« Reply #10 on: March 04, 2017, 06:13:20 am »
There is a sweet spot for walking.  Obviously walking in deep sand is tough.  But walking on concrete isn't so great either.  They sell those rubber floor mats for a reason.  Power harvesting from a floor could make sense as long as you weren't expecting or trying for much power.
 

Offline james_s

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Re: Pavegen Footstep Energy Harvesting - Pre-Bust
« Reply #11 on: March 04, 2017, 06:23:12 am »
There was a proposal sometime ago for electricity-generating shoes, to charge personal devices (phones, watches) too.

Note that elliptical machines and stationary bikes have to be plugged in to work and no one seems to have built a gym-quality one that can use the exercise to charge a battery so that they can work off the grid.

(Wasn't the whole taming of animals, and industrial revolution btw, a move away from using human muscle as power source? Walking on a surface that gives is a lot more tiring than on a solid surface.)

My other half lived in an apartment when I met her that had several exercise machines that were human powered and had no replaceable batteries or external power. You'd start pedaling/walking and after a few seconds the console would come to life. Now granted they don't need to generate much energy to do that, but I do seem to recall I could generate 50-60 Watts for a reasonable period of time according to the display.

Those power generating floor surfaces could be worthwhile in theory, I mean most of us could certainly use a bit more exercise, but in practice I'd bet people will just walk around them. Humans are for the most part rather lazy creatures.
 

Offline josecamoessilva

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Re: Pavegen Footstep Energy Harvesting - Pre-Bust
« Reply #12 on: March 04, 2017, 09:07:09 am »
I tried to check whether the gym ellipticals had any sort of self-power mode (they're always all plugged in, hence my apparently wrong inference), but didn't want to have to explain why to the gym personnel; since I'm a "weights side" guy, my presence in the "cardio side" is already strange to them, more so because I use them to cool down while watching either technical lectures or food tv programs on the ipad.  >:D (I used to set the TV in front of the machine to Food TV Network, but the people in the adjacent machines always gave me the evil eye.  >:D )

I can attest that the Concept IIc rowing machine doesn't power the controller; I own one so I tested it. (Obviously it works perfectly with the controller off, so if you're sure of your pace, it's perfectly fine off.)

On the subject of the pavement, what about the inebriated? That alone precludes most colleges and universities.  :-DD
 

Offline james_s

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Re: Pavegen Footstep Energy Harvesting - Pre-Bust
« Reply #13 on: March 04, 2017, 10:06:04 am »
I've seen flashlights (torch) that had a magnet inside that would slide through a coil when you shake it and charge a battery or capacitor. I remember my friend called them jack-off lights, the only ones I ever saw were rather cheaply made.
 

Offline rrinker

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Re: Pavegen Footstep Energy Harvesting - Pre-Bust
« Reply #14 on: March 04, 2017, 10:45:19 am »
 Question: What creatures DON'T kill you in Australia?  :-DD :-DD :-DD
 

Online Brumby

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Re: Pavegen Footstep Energy Harvesting - Pre-Bust
« Reply #15 on: March 04, 2017, 11:11:46 am »
I can attest that the Concept IIc rowing machine doesn't power the controller; I own one so I tested it. (Obviously it works perfectly with the controller off, so if you're sure of your pace, it's perfectly fine off.)

I have a Concept 2 model D, with a PM3 Performance Monitor.  The PM3 takes two D batteries, but during use, there is some power generation that is used to run the monitor, reducing the demand on the batteries.  Of the other models of performance monitor, the PM4 can actually run with a rechargeable battery pack on some machines - and get charged from your rowing (as well as from a USB connection).  The PM1, PM2 and PM2+ monitors just use the batteries.  The PM5 seems to have moved away from the rechargeable battery idea and gone back to the same power scheme of the PM3.

I can run my PM3 from the power of rowing very gently, without batteries.  It just takes a stroke or two and the monitor fires up.  Just as well, too.  I got mine second hand and did that test to see how smoothly the mechanism operated and saw the monitor come to life.  When I got the rower home, I checked out the monitor and found the battery compartment had been viciously attacked by a leaking battery.  It was so bad, I actually had to make a replacement contact strip as 75% of the metal of that strip was simply not there.  There was a lot of chemistry happening in that compartment - but generating usable electricity wasn't part of that.
 

Online Brumby

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Re: Pavegen Footstep Energy Harvesting - Pre-Bust
« Reply #16 on: March 04, 2017, 11:16:10 am »
Question: What creatures DON'T kill you in Australia?  :-DD :-DD :-DD

Ummmm......    Give me a minute ........
 

Offline josecamoessilva

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Re: Pavegen Footstep Energy Harvesting - Pre-Bust
« Reply #17 on: March 04, 2017, 12:00:18 pm »
I have a Concept 2 model D, with a PM3 Performance Monitor.

Mine is a 20-year-old, bought new but now well-used, model C (I think), PM2 (that's actually written on the thing); doesn't light up even with a racing stroke. It might be that over 20,000 nautical miles of rowing have ended any generator it could have, or maybe it was added with the model D/PM3. (Preempting the question "how did you hack the display for nautical miles?" A: https://www.flickr.com/photos/josecamoessilva/28747361652  8) )
 

Offline josecamoessilva

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Re: Pavegen Footstep Energy Harvesting - Pre-Bust
« Reply #18 on: March 04, 2017, 12:03:00 pm »
Question: What creatures DON'T kill you in Australia?  :-DD :-DD :-DD

Since all creatures in Australia are basically trying to kill you (seriously, most venomous animals of any continent), turnabout is fair play.

Maybe I'm mistaken, but didn't Dave tweet a photo of an Australian Brown snake (a snake so venomous it makes rattlesnakes feel like eels; 2nd most venomous land snake, 3rd overall) in the middle of an office park in Sydney?
« Last Edit: March 04, 2017, 12:44:45 pm by josecamoessilva »
 

Online Brumby

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Re: Pavegen Footstep Energy Harvesting - Pre-Bust
« Reply #19 on: March 04, 2017, 11:58:54 pm »
I have a Concept 2 model D, with a PM3 Performance Monitor.

Mine is a 20-year-old, bought new but now well-used, model C (I think), PM2 (that's actually written on the thing); doesn't light up even with a racing stroke. It might be that over 20,000 nautical miles of rowing have ended any generator it could have, or maybe it was added with the model D/PM3.

Yeah - from what I've read, the PM2 is completely powered from battery.  The PM3 was the first to harvest energy.

Quote
(Preempting the question "how did you hack the display for nautical miles?" A: https://www.flickr.com/photos/josecamoessilva/28747361652  8) )
Champion!
 

Offline Halcyon

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Re: Pavegen Footstep Energy Harvesting - Pre-Bust
« Reply #20 on: March 06, 2017, 08:36:23 pm »
That's not new. Just look for energy harvesting dancefloor.

I've worked at the Hordern Pavilion in Sydney which is building that can basically be transformed into a huge stage area and massive dance floor (think thousands of patrons).

Even though a lot of the stage and crowd lighting is laser and LED these days, it (and the audio/video equipment) still required a huge cable as thick as my wrist leading from a switchboard labelled "400 amps"... FOUR of those switchboards.

I'm sure a bit of amphetamine-induced jumping will do exactly nothing... maybe they can power the "Exit" signs.
 

Offline Codebird

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Re: Pavegen Footstep Energy Harvesting - Pre-Bust
« Reply #21 on: March 06, 2017, 09:26:09 pm »
I do have a bicycle-generator. Built it myself. I'd be happy to share all my design work on it. I used a car alternator, but those are designed electrically for cars - I had to completely rebuild the voltage regulator electronics to make it more efficient and able to operate at lower speed.

Human power is a novelty, but the awkward truth is that humans are just pathetically weak creatures. There are certain niches when you want a little power but without the shelf life and maintenance concerns of chemical cells, like plunger detonators and phone magnetos, or wind-up radios. A human-powered generator might even be good for a really remote little shack, as it can provide enough power to operate lights and a radio in emergencies without being dependent upon the weather. But energy-harvesting walkways? That's just silly.

Let's say a human weighs about 800N. Actually, this is probably for the American market, so call it 1000N. A maximum comfortable 'sinkage' in stepping is about 0.5cm. That's 1000*0.005 = 5J per step. At a stepping  rate of 2Hz for a brisk walk that's an absolute upper limit of 10W... or about the same as one tiny little solar panel that will be a fraction of the cost. That's assuming every component is at 100% efficiency, of course, while in practice that's just not going to happen. You'll be lucky to get 10% of that ideal figure.
 


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