The Hungarian company Platio has invented a new kind of photovoltaic panel: paving stones which can capture solar energy. This is a small revolution for the smart and sustainable city.
Entirely made out of recycled plastic, Platio's solar paving stones are disconcertingly practical.
There is a small revolution in the way we think about smart and sustainable cities going on in Hungary! The start-up Platio has invented the first paving stone capable of capturing solar energy complementing conventional solar panels installed on roofs.
Entirely made out of recycled plastic, Platio's solar paving stones are disconcertingly practical. They fit together like Lego and are fitted with an electrical system to store the energy generated or to connect them to surrounding objects, such as street lighting or traffic lights. These photovoltaic panels make it possible to generate more energy while optimizing space in a city.
Platio's solar paving stones have not just been designed to integrate into street furniture better, they are also very resistant. Their non-slip tempered glass tiling allows you to walk over them or sit on them. The only maintenance required by this new device is cleaning with water from time to ensure that they shine under the sun again.
From Kazakhstan to Sweden
These solar paving stones quickly interested municipalities which have chosen sustainable development but still search for aesthetics, such as Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan. In its ‘sustainable’ Green District, the city has built two esplanades covered with these paving stones in its Green Mall. The total 80 m² area can generate up to 11.7 kW per day, covering a large part of the mall's energy consumption.
In Sweden, pontoon specialist SF Marina has signed an agreement with Platio to build piers that could supply solar energy to boats moored there, because, yes, the Hungarian company's paving stones can also be fitted with plugs and connectors (USB, Qi wireless technology) to supply electricity directly from its base.
The method was tested in a Budapest ‘pop-up park’ where locals can sit on ‘smart benches’ to recharge the batteries of their smartphones or tablets, because, in addition to making the city smart and sustainable, Platio makes sure it stays pleasant to live in.
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