Paris Marathon to generate power from runners

Organizers will line the Champs-Elysees with energy collecting tiles.

The Paris Marathon has a novel idea: powering its race with its runners.

Organizers of this weekend’s major European event have laid out power consuming tiles along 25m of the Champs-Elysees that will absorb every runner’s stride. The kinetic force from the thousands of foot-strikes will then be relayed to batteries that power the screens and timers for the race.

The technology is provided by one of the event sponsors, Schneider Electric SA. They have said that they plan on making the Paris Marathon an event that eventually will create energy instead of consuming it.

Imagine if your run or walk to work could help to power the lights for your return journey home in the evening,” said Pavegen CEO Laurence Kemball-Cook, who invented the tiles. “It’s 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.”

Each step will produce as much as eight watts of kinetic energy. Organizers have yet to release how much total energy they estimate will be generated, as they are currently running a contest where the public is supposed guess the amount.

Schneider Electric will give 10,000 euros to charity if the total output exceeds seven kilowatts. That amount would power a lightbulb for five days.

Pavegen says that each tile will cost about $75 by 2014, which is comparable to many other high-end flooring options.