The international team, led from Glasgow Caledonian University, is creating pavements that gather energy from the sun.
Solar tiels are coated in a tough epoxy resin and will have a scuff and slip-proof finish in a range of colours.
But why seek solar power beneath people’s feet?
Dr Gowaid from laboratory Glasgow says the spread of solar energy means roof space will be a diminishing resource. Meanwhile, cities are getting more dense as electricity demand rises. So he is taking renewable energy to the streets.
The idea has won an award from the Qatar 2022 organising committee. They are backing the PVTopia project to create a prototype with the aim of demonstrating a full solar pavement during the tournament.
Dr Gowaid says that will power more than just a few fans and light bulbs.
“With some tricks, mechanically and electrically, we can make the system safe for people to walk on while feeding the energy to a nearby building. As it’s situated on the pavement, you can have the system feeding into street lighting or traffic systems,” Dr Gowaid commented.
He says the tiles are simple to make and can handle the high temperatures of the Gulf thanks to an innovative cooling system.
There is also more to their eco-friendly attributes than the solar power they produce. They are made from recycled materials which can be recycled once again at the end of an anticipated 20-year lifespan.
The first pilot pavement is expected to be laid in Glasgow next year before the full-scale rollout at the tournament. Thereafter the system could be used in public squares, schools and university campuses.