Human-powered energy harvesting is currently undergoing a trial at Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, which Delaware North operates for NASA.

Delaware North operates Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex for NASA and is focused on making leading-edge technology part of the experience.

Using technology developed by Georgia Tech Research Institute, a representative section prototype of Piezoelectric (PZ)-enabled walkway tiles has been installed at the front entrance plaza at the visitor complex. The PZ tiles, which generate electricity through energy harvesting when they are stepped on, will eventually be installed throughout the visitor complex to entertain and educate guests on sustainability and renewable energy.

The tiles, which illuminate to show that electricity is being generated, is currently being tested by visitor complex guests.

 “Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex is at the epicenter of real, cutting-edge implementation and application of new technologies,” said Therrin Protze, chief operating officer of Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. “Our work with Georgia Tech Research Institute allows our guests to be a part of these new scientific advancements.”

Piezoelectricity is the conversion of mechanical stress into electrical energy while also converting electric signals into mechanical stress. This can be seen in examples such as the vibrating disks in headphones. By utilizing the inherent material properties of piezoelectric elements in flooring or roadway applications, movement and vehicle vibrations can be converted into usable electrical energy.


Published: May 19, 2017