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New flooring generates electricity

Scientists at the University of Wisconsin have developed a new floor covering that generates electricity when walked on.

The new flooring is made from forest waste materials and treated with a chemical that creates an electric charge when connected to wood pulp fibres. This turns a floor into an electric generator that could power lights or charge a battery.

The floor covering presently only exists as a laboratory prototype, but promises to be both a cheap and durable floor covering that also saves energy bills. The next step is to install a large sample of the floor covering in a busy area of the University to monitor its effectiveness,

The new floor covering is part of a University of Wisconsin project that is researching how to harvest energy from everyday human activities. Commenting on the invention of the new floor covering, Professor Wang of the University of Wisconsin said:

“We’ve been working a lot on harvesting energy from human activities. One way is to build something to put on people and another way is to build something that has constant access to people. The ground is the most used place.”

Using the new floor technology in reception and other areas with high foot traffic could generate electricity to reduce a company’s energy bills. The scientists also envision road surfaces using the technology that generate electricity from traffic that runs over it.

In the future, installing a new solid floor in a Liverpool business could take advantage of the city centre’s high footfall.

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