Using footsteps to generate off-grid power


Bank of the West, the US division of BNP Paribas, has completed the first of four exciting off-grid power projects aimed at showcasing the bank’s latest commitments to the environment and local communities.

The campaign, called ‘Power the Change’, kicked off right outside the bank’s headquarters and has been running over the month of September.

The event challenged the people of the city to take a total of 100,000 steps on Pavegen technology, to generate off-grid power and trigger a $10,000 donation to GRID Alternatives, a non-profit solar technology organisation.

GRID Alternatives is using the funds to supply solar energy equipment to local deprived communities.

During the installation, a real-time screen captured the total amount of steps on the array and electrical energy being produced.

Over 110,000 steps were reached by the final day, smashing the target and generating enough electricity to power a Nissan Leaf for 1000ft, or charge an iPhone 8 for 115 hours.

As pedestrians walk across the tiles their footsteps compress electro-magnetic generators below the surface. That energy is then stored and can be used for things like lighting or mobile phone charging.

Just 10 steps can charge a phone for one minute. That means an average day of walking can power a smart-phone for more than 16 hours.

Currently, this technology is being used in cities around the world, including Washington DC.

“There are no plans yet for a permanent one in Portland but some of the interest that the community has is definitely in support of that so hopefully it will happen,” said Paige Henke, Pavegen.

The campaign took place in Sacramento, Portland and Denver. In a bid to connect with potential retail customers in Sacremento, visitors’ footsteps lit impressive LED archways overhead, creating an eye-catching spectacle for Bank of the West’s commitments to sustainability.