Kinetic

Kinetic paving and kinetic road in Kodaikanal India

Introduction

Almost all the industries and business sectors in the world have been affected by the wave of technology innovation and advancements and embracing new transformation and innovation in the digital age. The technological advances, new material, design approaches and digital innovation have contributed towards innovation in the construction sector worldwide (Zhang et al., 2016).  In construction sector, the digital innovations has been long changing the face of roads and travelling across the globe. One of the most exciting ongoing developments in this sector is kinetic roads and pavements. The Indian highways and construction sector has also been focusing on radical changes and opening opportunities for electric future to change the roads features to make it safer, smart and convenience. Kinetic roads and paving innovation can be a significant development to get benefit from high road travel and traffic in India.

In this assignment, the innovation of the kinetic paving and road as a source of energy is considered that has caught interest and attention of many scholarly professors, engineers and field experts in recent times. This smart technology concept allows the pedestrians to produce energy by walking on the kinetic pavements and driving vehicle automobiles on kinetic roads that harness automobiles energy and convert footsteps into electricity. The assignment report will first describe the innovation and cover key aspects and factors related to implementation of kinetic roads and pavements. The report also plans a strategy for implementation which is followed by an evaluation strategy for the innovation in context of India.  The evaluation will include explanation from key stakeholders for the practicability of this innovation and its implementation in Kodaikanal in India.

Innovation Description

A new technology that is under development in construction sector is kinetic energy. The global construction sector is becoming ecologically aware as many power companies are exploring ways to develop a sustainable power source. Many power companies are investigating the potential of kinetic energy for roads. Italian and London based start-ups have been developing technologies for roadways to capture, transform and transfer the dissipated kinetic energy from pedestrian’s footsteps and braking vehicles respectively to produce electric current.  This kind of technology innovation is focused on converting the kinetic energy which is generated by moving automobiles on roads into another form of energy source i.e. electrical energy. Kinetic footfall is another innovation that aims to harness the kinetic energy from footsteps of people into electricity (The Guardian, 2015).

Innovation purpose and advantage: The purpose of this kinetic energy innovation is to collect the dissipated kinetic energy from automobiles and convert it into electrical energy or electricity. Also, energy of footsteps the kinetic pavements can use the energy generated by footsteps of pedestrians into electricity. The electricity can be then passed into electrical grids for use such as to power street lights, road signs, traffic lights, flood lights, building lights, lighting at shopping malls, and other electrical items or appliances.

The advantages of kinetic roads innovation to roadways can bring improvements in road safety and road traffic and can promote traffic sustainability (Fermo and Tosin, 2015). Moreover, the kinetic paving roads can lower the cost of electricity. The kind of power generation from moving vehicle and footsteps can be a useful source of generating clean and green energy. Once the technology is fully developed and optimised it can serve to replace conventional energy sources for electrical and other supplies and the stored energy can be used for back-up power and emergency power. The kinetic paving and roads can be installed areas of high traffic to generate high electricity from vehicle motion and pedestrian footfall. The kinetic pavements when installed in roads can also be helpful to deal with inconsistent power outage (Fermo and Tosin, 2015). Another advantage of this technology is that vehicles that are major cause of air pollution can contribute towards becoming a source of clean energy.

Innovation type: The kinetic energy innovation can be said to be a radical innovation as this kind of technological development is novel and unique, has high degree of newness and also has potential to impact the content of upcoming inventions. Under radical innovation, a new technology is explored which pose high risk and uncertainty but if fully developed can being dramatic changes in existing industries and can also create new industry (Nicholas et al., 2013). This type of innovation brings something which is new to the world and replaces an existing model, process, design, system, etc. to interact in a way that construct somewhat new and unique (Boons et al., 2013). The kinetic energy innovation is also aimed to deliver sustainable development of road traffic, road improvements and towards a step change in harnessing and exploiting kinetic energy into electric current. It can be said that kinetic energy innovation is a user friendly that focus on general population to make improvements in the social system and environment. Moreover, this innovation can lead to an essential technology change in the construction sector.

Innovation details: Kinetic roads innovation is currently being explored by a start-up company, Underground Power in Italy. The Italian company is working in collaboration with Polytechnic University of Milan to fully develop this innovation.  This innovation works using a technology named as Lybra which is a tyre-like rubber paving structure that is capable to collect and transform kinetic energy generated by vehicle in motion into electrical energy (Euronews, 2014). The technology is also based on the fact that a braking vehicle dissipates some amount of kinetic energy.

Another development is Pavegen technology that allows using the energy generated from the people in motion. This innovation is being worked out by a London start-up, Pavegen. This innovation works under the process of electromagnetic induction and flywheel energy storage. The innovation uses a special tile that harvest energy from people in motion. The 95 percent of the tile is made from recycled tyres that contract by around 5 mm when a pedestrian step on the tile. This results in generating kinetic energy up to 7-8watts during the footstep period (The Guardian, 2015). Thus, an adequate number of tiles and sufficient footsteps will be able to generate electrical energy which can be stored in batteries for future use. Currently, kinetic footfall innovation has been deployed in football pitch to power its floodlight in Rio de Janeiro and it is temporary installed in Canary Wharf station to power street lights in London.

Innovation challenges: The challenge associated with this innovative technology is cost factor in its development. The tile need to be reasonably priced as the standard floor tiles to get its installation in public spaces , schools, colleges, universities,  offices and in high traffic pedestrian areas to generate quantities of electric current that can be stored and utilised for electrical items or for lightening purpose. Thus, high installation cost can be an upcoming challenge for Pavegen company to make the technology affordable to all. Another challenge in this innovation can be to make this technology as powerful as conventional electricity sources. In addition to this, the challenges in the built environment can arise from availability of material such as storage devices and energy conversion technologies, ICT, city level integrated designs for road pavements and demands for new technical skills, knowledge and competencies.

Context description

Location and Scale: The location for kinetic paving and kinetic road can be a focal point in Kodaikanal in India to serve the Indian roads as workable sources of renewable energy.  The Indian power sector faces major developments as the electricity demands continue to rise from both urban and rural areas. According to Sundaram and Babu (2015), Kodaikanal has potential for development renewable energy technologies due to high need of electricity in overall state (Tamil Nadu) which can impact the development cost and investment opportunity. In Kodaikanal, the kinetic roads and kinetic paving can be used to change vehicle and footsteps kinetic energy to develop a high output power in kilowatts or electric current. The technology innovation by Pavegen can be best best suited to transport centres, public market areas and tourist destination where a large traffic of people can pass over the special road tiles or road pavements. According to Webster (2011), the average person during average life span will take approx 150 million steps which generates power for a household for three weeks thus, the combined population of a city is sufficient to provide power supply to household for several months.  This can be significant contribution towards sustainable energy. This is also crucial for the Kodaikanal roads and highways network that can contribute in energy generation owing to its high traffic of vehicle from tourism.

Business Environment conditions: The business conditions in India are improving as the country is emerging as a fast growing economy. The government is politically stable and has made policy announcements to facilitate foreign investments and the ease of doing business.  The country diverse democratic system has been contributing for the country’s progress and developments. The country focuses on the infrastructure development, creating smart cities, smart roads and highways, renewable energy, energy efficient project to reduce environmental impact, and other Greenfield projects. The Indian government has officially agreed raising bonds for renewable energy value at US$351.03 million through Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency in 2017 (India Brand Equity Foundation, 2018). In the same year, total renewable energy installed capacity in India was reported to be 58.3 in gigawatt (GW) (India Brand Equity Foundation, 2018).

Stakeholders: The key stakeholder identified for kinetic roads and kinetic paving are sponsors, construction manager, project manager and team, the city administrators, local authorities, renewable energy experts, engineers, infrastructure and road development agencies, the general public and the state government.

Organisational structure: The organisation structure preferred for innovation friendly culture is flat hierarchy structure. The flat organisation structure allows more participation among organisational members. This structure has less layers of management and a short chain of command that avoid communication breakdown (George, 2016).

Key strengths and weaknesses: The key strengths of this structure are that it allows better communication among organisational members, offer innovation culture, support for decisions and less disagreements and conflicts (Islam et al., 2015). The decision making process is adaptive, flexible and fast. Each member faces less supervision and has some authority to take decisions to achieve better outcomes. The weaknesses of this organisational structure are that it is most suitable for small enterprises, partnership firms and start-up companies (Fini et al., 2012) and not for medium and large organisations and can lead to confusion in employee by having more than one superior.

Key opportunities: The innovation opportunities in the Kodaikanal region in India arises from the electricity crisis and environmental concerns from projects based on fossil fuel. Around 4.5 percent potential of renewable energy has been investigated in India (The Economic Times, 2011). This offers potential for the growth of renewable energy in developing nation like India. Another opportunity is to lessen the demand supply-gap of electricity in this city and improve electrification in rural areas and support development of off-grid electrification.

Theory of Implementation description relevant and innovation in context

Strategy

The theoretical approaches used in implementation can be used to guide the implementation process to transform the knowledge into practice and understanding the factors impacting the innovation outcomes and its evaluation. The use of process models can be used to explain the transformation process from knowledge and research into action or practice. The models can such as knowledge-to-action framework can form a basis to facilitate planning and execution of plan (Tabak et al., 2012). Also, the participative culture, leadership and support from stakeholder have an influence in the context of outcome from the implementation of this innovation in Kodaikanal city. The evaluation framework for outcome of this innovation implementation can be acceptability, adoption in large scale, cost, benefit from integration in specific locations and sustainability effects.

Key Objectives

The key objective of the kinetic road and paving innovation for renewable energy road project can be:

  • To exploit the kinetic energy into electrical energy source to be used for different purposes
  • To improve security of local energy
  • To add vehicle as an alternative source of clean energy
  • To reduce dependence on conventional energy sources
  • To increase awareness concerning energy production and consumption
  • To enhance awareness regarding alternative energy generation sources

Critical success factors:

  • Obtaining input from renewable energy experts and site engineers
  • Finalization of the implementation plan
  • Acquire sufficient funding
  • Gain approval for implementation
  • Alignment of budget against resources
  • Realistic cost, time and benefit estimates
  • Support from key stakeholders

Time plans:

Activities Description Timeframe
Setting of context Setting of project objective Feb 2018 – March 2018  (One month)
Initiate meetings with key stakeholders  for approval
Assessment of requirement and technology support Understand the options available in city 1st to 15th April  ( 15 days)
Select high traffic roads and public spaces
Develop framework for implementation Confirm action with stakeholders  16th April to 5th May (20 days)
Finalisation of parameters
Implementation Engagement with process 6th May to 6th June (one month)
Evaluation Impact of the technology innovation 7th June to 7th August (two months)

Implementation Plan

The implementation plan for this project is based on phased approach.

Management: The implementation plan will be supported by project manager, project team, construction manager in collaboration with renewable energy experts and engineers.

Phasing:

In this phase, the site data will be collected as an input for the analysis of energy outcomes and to decide on the financing method to follow with the sponsors.  The site data includes location of sites such as market places, transportation hubs, schools, colleges, etc., planning for road use, costs, and information on energy storage systems and use of stored electric current for different purposes. This phase will also involves screening of sites to identify location that can offer high generation of energy and outline the technology to be used with the help of an expert to understand the any constraints, physical issues or anything that can impact on the execution.  The financial requirements will be reviewed during each phase for unexpected cost overruns.

Structure: The project manager will be responsible to communicate the timelines and schedule and report the progress to the sponsor. The project team will review the design for the execution to make arrangements for the equipments. Meeting will be held once in three days to discuss progress as per the activity plan and time line among project manager, project team, and construction manager.

Processes: Here, the installation of the system will take place on the screened sites/locations. The project will be monitored to ensure co-ordination among the engineers and workers. The milestone for these activities will be monitored to achieve within a specified time.

Checking: Once installation will be complete, the energy system will be checked to ensure that it works as per the design specification and mechanisms. For two months, the system will be monitored to evaluate its performance to determine the extent to which it fulfils the purpose.

Coping with change

In this innovation, the environment expectations will be high. Some of the few concerns can be regarding the financial support for R&D, evaluation costs, opportunities for innovation in India and transfer of technology. To cope with the changes in the implementation plan, there needs to be assurance of maintenance of R&D expenditure to get a positive return on investments (Oman et al., 2013). Also cost benefit approach can be undertaken to cope with the changes by attaining generic information about this approach implementation to re-schedule, monitor work progress, pending activities, revise budget and check for quality measures and resource availability.

Evaluation

The process of evaluation for this innovation will be focused on three aspects:

  1. Operational learning: This can be gained from the feedback obtained from key stakeholders to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the system in terms of design and implementation using interview method.
  2. Impact assessment- The impact of the innovation to determine the extent to which key objectives are met to handle (Edler et al., 2012).
  3. Cost-benefit analysis- Cost of the innovation and benefits achieved using and consider the time the system takes to generate desired energy outcome (Oman et al., 2013). This will be done to handle the issue of return on investment which can be an agenda for the different evaluators of the innovation for the allocation of resources vs. expenditure (Edler et al., 2012).

Evaluation Interview Questions:

  • -How satisfied are you with the using kinetic roads and pavements for energy generation innovation implementation?
  • -How well the innovation effort matches the city/ country needs?
  • -How well does this innovation satisfy energy needs?
  • -Do you think that this innovation make the best use of resources?
  • -Do you consider this innovation as a cost-effective approach as compared to other alternatives?
  • -What particular features of the innovation can make a difference?
  • -Can you highlight any unsuitability in implementation of the system at a large scale?
  • -What can be positive and negative outcomes that can result in the implementation of this innovation?
  • What do you think of this innovation is a success?

The evaluation can be asked to stakeholders which comprises of renewable energy experts, road development agencies, general public, and engineers.  In evaluation, the effectiveness of the innovation system in energy generation, storage and use can be shown to the stakeholders. The effect on electricity cost and the impact on environment and sustainability effect can be revealed that can form the fundamental criteria for evaluation (Oman et al., 2013) in terms of its efficiency in energy current generation, appropriateness for Indian roads and adaptive effectiveness for any changes in design and implementations.

Conclusion

It can be summarised that kinetic roads and kinetic paving innovation can drastically change the road infrastructure for renewable energy contributions in India. The implementation strategy is based on phased approach with a time period of less than six months. The evaluation strategy will follow interview method for feedbacks along with impact assessment and a cost- benefit analysis to cetin the feasibility of the innovation implementation in the Indian city, Kodaikanal. It can also be said that that Kodaikanal roads and highways sector in Tamil Nadu can be a forefront in implementation of kinetic pavements and kinetic roads innovation to transform its road infrastructure, to meet the energy crisis and provide support towards conservation of energy in the country.

Reference

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Fermo, L. and Tosin, A. (2015) A fully-discrete-state kinetic theory approach to traffic flow on road networks. Mathematical Models and Methods in Applied Sciences, 25(03), pp. 423-461.

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Zhang, Z., Zhang, X., Rasim, Y., Wang, C., Du, B. and Yuan, Y. (2016) Design, modelling and practical tests on a high-voltage kinetic energy harvesting (EH) system for a renewable road tunnel based on linear alternators. Applied Energy, 164, pp. 152-161.

 

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