Energy Floors, a Netherlands-based firm has come out with products like Sustainable Energy Floor and Sustainable Dance Floor which can convert footsteps into electricity. Whenever anyone steps onto the floor, the tile flexes round by 10mm. This movement is then converted into electricity ranging from 15 Watts to 25 Watts. If a concurrent network of these tiles is laid together (around 40), it could generate up to 1kW energy. All thanks to the modular nature of the tiles.
We’re not sure about the exact principle behind these tiles but one thing is certain; these are not piezoelectric. It’s a rack and pinion sort of arrangement that drives a small permanent magnet generator. The flow of current is directed by a controller module.
As soon as you step on the blocks, they light up and this in turn intrigues people to step on them over and over again. It’s a fascinating marketing stragedy. You may feel that these floors aren’t of much practical application but unfortunately you’re wrong! These aren’t any techie joke or a high-tech toy. Recently, Russian Railway Research has parterned with Energy Floors and plans to put these smart floors on railway platforms and high-traffic walkways. They are also looking ways to implement use of this technology in order to fetch energy from the movement of cars and trains.
And the interesting thing is; these floor tiles not only generate clean electricity but are also a lovely example to the principle of 3R’s (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle). Yes, the tiles are made out of recyclable materials and are quite reliable with an expected lifetime of 30 years.
Laurence Kemball-Cook justifies the concept as follows:
‘Sustainable energy is a multifaceted industry. Solar, wind, and hydroelectric are the big players, but small energy-harvesting products have their place as well. A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. Energy Floors could make that step more productive.’