UK Cleantech Scales up for Paris Marathon
Schneider Electric, the global specialist in energy management, has commissioned an award-winning British cleantech firm to capture the kinetic energy from runners and spectators at this year’s Schneider Electric Paris Marathon, in the largest ever install of their unique technology.
Pavegen Systems will install over 25 metres of their energy harvesting tiles on the runner’s course, spectator-viewing platforms, and at other key points along the route.
Pavegen’s innovative design converts the kinetic energy of footfall into electricity that is stored in a battery or used to power various applications such as street lighting, advertising, information displays, and communications technology. The Pavegen tiles flex 5mm when stepped on, converting up to 8 watts of kinetic energy over the duration of the footstep, i.e. 8 joules.
Installed at sites around the world, including the London 2012 Games, the Pavegen tiles contain wireless technology that transmits data on renewable energy amounts generated by each unit. This information can be sent to any designated website for access by smartphone or computer. During the marathon, which Schneider Electric is sponsoring in a four-year deal, the data will be displayed on giant screens at strategic points along the street course.
In a gamification twist, the marathon audiences watching in Paris and around the world will compete via a Facebook page to predict how much off-grid power the Pavegen tiles will harvest during the marathon. The most accurate estimate will win VIP access to next year’s race and the next best 50 estimates will receive prizes of GPS-enabled Garmin running watches.
If the runners and spectators manage to generate more than 7000 watt hours the Schneider Electric and its Foundation will increase their donation to “Habitat et Humanisme” from €50,000 to €60,000. The NGO will use the funds to help support its work with energy management for housing in local areas such as Île-de-France.
Laurence Kemball-Cook, 27, inventor of the technology and CEO of Pavegen Systems says:
“Pavegen could play a key role in the smart cities of the future. Imagine if your run or walk to work could help to power the lights for your return journey home in the evening.
The marathon installation will help more communities and organisations see 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.”
Aaron Davis, Schneider Electric’s Chief Marketing Officer said: “The mission of Schneider Electric is to help people make the most of their energy, by becoming more efficient, reducing energy waste, fighting against climate change for example, each time carrying out wide-ranging collective actions engaging as many people as possible.
“In the long-term, our ambition is to make the Schneider Electric Paris Marathon the first energy positive race in the world.”
For the Paris Marathon on Sunday 7th April, Pavegen tiles will span the iconic Champs-Élysées to form a renewable energy section of the course, where over 50,000 runners will compete to win the 26 mile and 385 yard (42.195 km) race. Pavegen tiles will also be at the Running Expo entrance where competitors collect their race numbers, bibs and RFID tags for race timing, and where visitors can access stalls and information both before and during the race.
Spectators at the annual Paris race will also be involved via energy-generating viewing platforms on either side of the course. ‘Energy pods’ will encourage spectators to use the energy harvesting technology and learn more about the energy output of the Pavegen units, helping them to make more accurate total energy estimates to win the competition.
“We have a disruptive product,” concludes Kemball-Cook, “our partners in the energy and infrastructure have been quick to grasp the potential of a system that can be seamlessly integrated into existing architecture to generate electricity, without being connected to the grid. This installation represents another significant milestone in the ‘upscaleing’ of Pavegen’s unique energy solution.”
Video simulation of Pavegen at 2013 Schneider Paris Marathon Download link: http://we.tl/yBb78DC1Jg
Major move forward for UK’s nascent marine energy sector
Although the industry is small and the technologies are limited, marine-based energy systems look to be taking off as “the world’s most powerful tidal turbine” begins grid-connected power generation at the European Marine Energy Centre.
At around 74 metres long, the turbine single-handedly holds the potential to supply the annual electricity demand to approximately 2,000 homes within the UK and offset 2,200 tonnes of CO2 per year.
Orbital Marine Power, a privately held Scottish-based company, announced the turbine is set to operate for around 15 years in the waters surrounding Orkney, Scotland, where the 2-megawatt O2 turbine weighing around 680 metric tons will be linked to a local on-land electricity network via a subsea cable.
How optimistic is the outlook for the UK’s turbine bid?
Described as a “major milestone for O2” by CEO of Orbital Marine Power Andrew Scott, the turbine will also supply additional power to generate ‘green hydrogen’ through the use of a land-based electrolyser in the hopes it will demonstrate the “decarbonisation of wider energy requirements.”
“Our vision is that this project is the trigger to the harnessing of tidal stream resources around the world to play a role in tackling climate change whilst creating a new, low-carbon industrial sector,” says Scott in a statement.
The Scottish Government has awarded £3.4 million through the Saltire Tidal Energy Challenge Fund to support the project’s construction, while public lenders also contributed to the financial requirements of the tidal turbine through the ethical investment platform Abundance Investment.
“The deployment of Orbital Marine Power’s O2, the world’s most powerful tidal turbine, is a proud moment for Scotland and a significant milestone in our journey to net zero,” says Michael Matheson, the Cabinet Secretary for Net-Zero, Energy and Transport for the Scottish Government.
“With our abundant natural resources, expertise and ambition, Scotland is ideally placed to harness the enormous global market for marine energy whilst helping deliver a net-zero economy.
“That’s why the Scottish Government has consistently supported the marine energy sector for over 10 years.”
However, Orbital Marine CEO Scott believes there’s potential to commercialise the technology being used in the project with the prospect of working towards more efficient and advanced marine energy projects in the future.
“We believe pioneering our vision in the UK can deliver on a broad spectrum of political initiatives across net-zero, levelling up and building back better at the same time as demonstrating global leadership in the area of low carbon innovation that is essential to creating a more sustainable future for the generations to come.”
The UK’s growing marine energy endeavours
This latest tidal turbine project isn’t a first for marine energy in the UK. The Port of London Authority permitted the River Thames to become a temporary home for trials into tidal energy technology and, more recently, a research project spanning the course of a year is set to focus on the potential tidal, wave, and floating wind technology holds for the future efficiency of renewable energy. The research is due to take place off of the Southwest coast of England on the Isles of Scilly