Wednesday, 11 February, 2009

Power Walking

Tokyo’s harried train commuters may not only have to buy their tickets but also generate the energy needed to punch them. East Japan Railway is testing a floor system that harvests energy from the footsteps of people walking through ticket gates.

The flooring is fitted with piezoelectric elements that convert the mechanical stress from pedestrians’ weight into little blips of electricity. Twenty-five square meters of piezoelectric flooring are expected to generate 1400 kilowatt-seconds of power per day, enough to light a 40-watt LED bulb for 17 hours. “It’s not much,” admits railway spokesperson Makoto Yasuhara. But the company hopes more-efficient future equipment will power automated ticket gates and information boards. A 2-month pilot system is being tested at Tokyo Station, where 70,000 train riders surge through ticket gates daily.
Source : Science Mag.