Well, yes, but….

Scientists have developed technology that can turn footsteps into electricity.

By tapping into an unexpected energy source, wooden flooring, researchers from Switzerland have developed an energy-harvesting device that uses wood with a combination of a silicone coating and embedded nanocrystals to produce enough energy to power LED lightbulbs and small electronics.

This device, called a nanogenerator, is based on sandwiching two pieces of wood between electrodes.

And what is the energy cost of making this stuff?

28 thoughts on “Well, yes, but….”

  1. Isn’t this olds? I’m sure I saw this sort of stuff on Tomorrow’s World in the 1980s – and not just demonstrated by Michael Jackson.

  2. Pathetic.

    We’ll be harnessing human farts before long.

    Frack and use gas generation for God’s sake!

    Love and peace to greenies!

  3. “Imagining making a floor with these kinds of devices, the amount of energy that could be produced by people just walking,” said Panzarasa. “Our focus was to demonstrate the possibility of modifying wood with relatively environmentally friendly procedures to make it triboelectric. Spruce is cheap and available and has favourable mechanical properties.”

    This is utter bullshit. Scientists haven’t found a new source of energy. They’ve found a more efficient way of grabbing some of the energy a human spends when walking. If you want to tap human energy output, there are more effective ways – a stationary bicycle with an alternator could be effective. If you start taking large amounts of energy out of the flooring, then people will need to work harder to walk across it.

  4. Reminiscent of the “solar road” idea. The French built a 1km trial road costing €5m. It generated less than €10k of electricity.

  5. We all know it is shite but there are endless grants available for it… I’m fed up with it…

    Just read this in the local paper yesterday.

    A budget of €334m in the next seven years is reserved for green projects. In 2021, over €127m were used from the budget.

    Finally, Pilides said that between 2022 and 2025, around 400,000 smart meter readers will be installed in the country and a framework for renewable energy communities promoting microgrids, will also be implemented.

    https://cyprus-mail.com/2021/08/31/competitive-electricity-market-key-to-lower-prices/

    The article is prompted by a recent announcement that electricity bills are to go up by 38%. I wonder why the fuck that is…?

  6. The problem with mass marketing this is getting enough of a customer base off its backside. I say that comfy in my chair.

  7. “ This device, called a nanogenerator, is based on sandwiching two pieces of wood between electrodes”

    Surely the other way round – sandwiching electrodes between two pieces of wood?

    But we can’t expect journalists to understand what they write, never mind what they are writing about.

  8. First Law of Thermodynamics? Where does the energy come from? It must come from making walkers on the surface expend more energy.

  9. Hard about this years ago, in connection with stairs. Obvious bollocks. Even if it worked without forcing you to expend (slightly) more energy to create the (tiny) amount of power, how long will these electrodes last sandwiched between floorboards as they’re walked on?

  10. What about using mattresses, where there’s a lot of thrusting and pumping going on? Surely enough to power a small mp3 player to play the romantic music

  11. In their defense, most new tech is impractical in its early stages and this may end up being useful in some area as yet unimagined.

    But the write-up does get a wee bit ahead of reality. Reminds of a story a few years back about a solar powered airplane – tiny thing, one passenger, very slow & short flight, but the writer was sooo excited about this breakthrough!

  12. If you want to tap human energy output, there are more effective ways – a stationary bicycle with an alternator could be effective.

    I’m sure these will become a feature in British homes once the cost of green electricity soars. Pedalling away will also keep you warm on those winter days when your heat pump doesn’t work and you can’t afford to put the radiators on.

  13. Energy costs of production, distribution, etc. are obviously important.

    But they’re not the only important thing.

    I have a little solar panel cell phone charger. I forget how much I paid for it, but probably more than it will ever save me in electric costs. In fact, more energy was probably expended building it and getting it to me than it will ever generate from sunlight and pump into my phone. But if I’m out camping somewhere, it comes in handy, and that’s worth (to me — value is subjective) the premium I paid.

    Something like these floor panels would strike me as a bit like an energy annuity. With a financial annuity bought at retirement, I might end up getting less wealth back overall than I would have by putting my money in an indexed fund, but maybe I’d rather have a guaranteed $1500 a month for 20 years ($360,000) than the reasonable possibility of, say $450k total over that time.

    Assuming this technology worked out well, I’d know that I was paying more per kilowatt hour, and paying in advance, but I’d also know I would be getting those kilowatt hours even when a power transformer got hit by lightning down the road, or even if I got too broke to pay the light bill at some point. And that might be worth it to me, if I had the cash around to have them installed, sort of like the solar panel phone charger.

  14. Bloke in North Dorset

    “ If you start taking large amounts of energy out of the flooring, then people will need to work harder to walk across it.”

    Shhhh… or some clown will hear you and think it’s a cure for obesity. Then we’ll never see the back of it.

  15. “What about using mattresses, where there’s a lot of thrusting and pumping going on? ”
    Worked on this idea years ago. It’s necessary to analyse the pumping. Up stroke & downstroke. Say 6″. Now find a way it’s the woman rises rather than the man descends. 30 foot of altitude gained every minute. Decent session of rumpy-pumpy, you’d need a parachute. A bit of doggy thrown in & you could fly to France.
    All I need’s a generous backer.
    (Patent applied for)

  16. Not just the energy cost of making it – what’s the extra energy cost (human effort) of walking on it?

    Nothing’s free.

  17. “what’s the extra energy cost (human effort) of walking on it?” and similar:

    None, actually. It’s that out of all the forces and stresses that make a floor a floor, and which ultimately gets lost as brownian motion, a part of that energy gets directed out as moving electrons.

    Yes, work being done and all, but you’re talking milli(micro?)watts. I doubt we’d be able to measure the difference to something approaching significance.

  18. Eco-freaks –paint your bollocks with the crap and harvest energy as your bag slaps about.

    Eco-bullshit . The Ecos really need hundreds of big nasty blokes armed with pick-axe handles to crash in on them. Pound the lot and the worst offenders go off to meet–or meat–the Lions.

    Job done.

  19. It also explains that bit in “Double Indemnity” where Fred MacMurray cant hear his footsteps. Not the walk of a dead man but one whose energy had been stolen via piezo-electronics. If only Raymond Chandler had known of such a device.

  20. So know building would have traffic works with cones and traffic lights to control the flow while contractors replaced/repaired flooring on a much more regular basis.
    Go somewhere busy and see often there’s escalator problems and then imagine it’s the entire floor.

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