Companies around the world are invested in developing versatile pavements that are sturdy enough to walk on, while also being able to produce clean, usable energy. The French government, for instance, is planning to build around 1,000 kilometers of solar panel-fitted road within the next five years. The concept behind Hungary-based startup Platio’s energy-harvesting pavements is slightly different.
Instead of the dull, concrete pavement that one can find in cities and urban areas, the team at Platio has come up with an innovative new design for a colorful paving system that can be connected “like LEGO bricks”. Made entirely using recycled plastic, these structures are intended to make sidewalks more fun and eco-friendly, thanks to their ability to harvest solar power.
The company has already sold around 150 square meters (or 1615 square feet) of this paving system, acquiring $70,000 in the process. Each of these units contains monocrystalline silicon cells that are tempered inside a layer of strengthened glass. These cells, according to the developers, are in turn responsible for harvesting usable power from the sun. Speaking about the design, the team wrote:
The units are compact and modularly connect together making electronic contact without additional wiring by a powerline communication systems which connects automatically during the establishment.
To protect the internal components from damage, the system comes with specially-built plastic backing. What’s more, its ingenious, modular design means that multiple units can be joined together without the need for additional wiring. As pointed out by the designers, the pavement is capable of producing up to 160 watts of power for every square meter (around 10 square feet). It is currently available in three different colors.
At present, the team at Platio is trying to integrating other energy-harvesting techniques, such as kinetic energy from footsteps. The technology could also be used to build solar facades, holographic infopavement as well as community energy storage systems. The main goal, according to the developers, is:
… [to] create a clean and energy-independent future, in which we create a new basis for urban life with taking into consideration the perspectives of information-based society.
To learn more about the technology, head over to Platio’s official website.