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If you’re interested in sustainable development, and the term “smart cities” is more than just a buzzword for you, you should definitely check out PLATIO – a promising Hungarian startup specializing in pedestrian pavements. Their mission, as stated on their website, is to create a clean and energy-independent future. How? By changing your ordinary pavement into an energy-producing, waste-reducing device.

PLATIO has three founders. Imre Sziszák, the CEO, is a mechanical engineer with expertise in injection molding and waste recycling, as well as experience as a sales manager. Miklós Ilyés is an inventor and a landscape architect from a leading studio in Hungary. József Cseh, the CTO, is a chemist and electrical engineer, specializing in automotive industry, chemistry and physics.

“The founders are childhood friends and environmentally friendly technology enthusiasts,” said Ilyés. “Two years ago, as all us happened to move to Budapest we started to hang out again and realized as having expertise in very various fields we work together efficiently. We started this project two years ago, and founded our company a year ago.”

The main product of PLATIO are pavement plates made from recycled plastic. They don’t use any expensive cleaning and recycling methods, though – it’s the regular plastic waste you throw out every day. The second component in their plates are solar panels. That’s right – not only does this product reduce waste, but it actually generates energy (160 pW per 1m2). Elements connect together like LEGO bricks, and as they automatically make electronic contact, there’s no need for an additional wiring network. Panels are very durable – the PLATIO team treats them more like a building material than a device – and have a surprisingly competitive price.

PLATIO is still in its infancy, but they already managed to collect 70 000 $ funding from seed investors. They have already begun selling their product for first pilot projects and made some bold plans for the future. One of them, currently under development, is a system that converts the energy of steps to electrical current. In wider perspective, this system (together with solar cells) would allow for decentralizing power networks in cities. PLATIO’s plans include also entering the market of façade coverings and creating infopavements with image display. Basically, everything to make pavements less “depressing and polluting than regular concrete paving”.