When we were kids, we assumed that in the future everything would be powered by tiny nuclear fusion reactors: automobiles, toothbrushes, time machines (apparently we read a lot of sci-fi from the 1950s). The truth, as usual, is more mundane than all that: some of the more promising advances we've seen in green energy has been kinetic, taking the movement of automobiles
or the tides
and converting it into electricity. Pavegen, for example, can be set in public walkways to generate as much as 2.1 watts of electricity per hour from the footsteps of grizzled pedestrians. Using marine grade stainless steel and recycled materials, just five of these bad boys distributed over a well-worn sidewalk should be able to generate enough energy to keep a bus stop going all night. If not put into nearby lighting, the units are equipped with lithium polymer batteries for storage. Currently being tested in East London, look for them throughout the UK in 2010. Video after the break.