Abu Dhabi International Airport has launched an interactive walkway which converts the footsteps of travellers into off-grid electricity and data.

Abu Dhabi Airports has commissioned Pavegen, in collaboration with Masdar (Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company) to construct the 16m2 energy harvesting walkway. 

The path connects two terminals within the capital’s high-tech airport, which handles around two million passengers a month and is the first application of its kind in a commercial airport in the Middle East.

The footsteps of around 8,000 travellers per day are being captured and converted into electrical energy to track footfall data and power lighting along the walkway as they pass between Terminals 1 and 3 of the airport. The system incorporates screens to highlight how much energy is being harvested with a special game interface for children that shows airplanes rising and descending according to how much energy is being generated.

Ahmed Al Shamisi, acting chief operations officer at Abu Dhabi Airports, said: “We’ve partnered with Masdar to install the Pavegen walkway, poised to power the data-driven, smart cities of tomorrow. Through this collaboration, Abu Dhabi Airports aims to further its commitment to sustainable practices, educating travellers and residents alike about different sources of off-grid energy and data”.

“Our environmental performance and green initiatives demonstrates Abu Dhabi Airports’ commitment to delivering innovative solutions for the international aviation community.”

The articulated flooring surface is constructed from a series of interlocking triangles. As people walk across the patented system, electromagnetic generators produce off-grid energy. This electricity is being used to power local LED lighting and to provide a data feed.

Yousef Ahmed Baselaib, executive director of sustainable real estate, Masdar, said: “The hope is that through this installation, both UAE tourists and residents can see and feel first-hand, the role they have to play in our larger sustainability journey.”

Laurence Kemball-Cook, founder and CEO, Pavegen, added: “As the first major Pavegen permanent installation in the Middle East, this a key milestone for us as we look to grow our presence in this fast-changing region.”