The tiles can be used in any outdoor pedestrian walkway exposed to daylight, such as public squares, pavements, schools and university campuses. Dr Azmy Gowaid and his team pitched the concept to the Qatar FIFA World Cup 2022 organising committee, following a callout for innovate designs from around the world that would help to make the tournament environmentally-friendly.
The team won $100k funding and have now built a prototype, which will be developed further ahead of the world cup. A pilot pavement is expected to be trialled in Glasgow next year.
The individual solar floor tiles are epoxy-based rather than glass, and are supported by a recycled plastic frame with an embedded concentrator lens and photovoltaic cells. They are also equipped with an innovative cooling mechanism that allows the tiles to function in a hot climate. The surface temperature in Qatar can reach 80°C.
Dr Gowaid said: “It is not a matter of choosing between traditional solar panels or walkable tiles, it is a matter of taking solar installations to a new territory that was not possible with traditional technology. This tile design can function effectively in hot climates and is both cost-efficient and eco-friendly.
“Should this prove successful, it is our dream that this product can eventually be installed at mass scale anywhere in the world – even in rainy old Glasgow! We want to see the tiles contribute to the energy supply mix of stadia, other sporting facilities and beyond to public squares, pavements, schools and university campuses.”