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Will Timber Flooring Sometime Turn Your Footsteps into Energy?

Traditionally, the only way to use timber flooring around the world to create energy is to burn it in a wood stove or a fireplace and use it for heat. If researchers at the University of Wisconsin in the US have their way, timber may someday be used to create electrical energy without burning it.

Researchers at the University, lead by Xudong Wang, have developed a timber flooring surface that uses vibration to turn footsteps into energy. The flooring is actually made of a timber waste material: wood pulp.

We are fans of turning every part of a tree that has been harvested into energy in a way that doesn’t add carbon to the environment. While oil prices have been low the last eight years, they aren’t going to stay that way forever. We think it is crucial to find energy sources that not only don’t involve oil, but are totally sustainable, as soon as possible.

The secret of this form of energy is that it can absorb and convert the energy of footsteps or of bicycles riding on the surface. The process of using vibration to create energy is called triboelectricity.

While details of the invention cannot be released until it is patented, it uses cellulose fibres that are treated with special chemicals to attract electrons. The fibres are charged with two different materials. This causes every interaction with the floor to result in the creation of static electricity. A capacitor attached to the flooring captures the energy and saves it so it can be used later.

If a battery or similar storage device is plugged into the capacitor, the energy can be stored for later use. Mr Wang is excited about the potential of this invention because it uses recycled materials and can be used in public places with heavy foot traffic, such as airports, to generate a lot of power.

Call the Timber Flooring Professionals

It may be a while before this invention sees the light of day, but you can get all of the timber flooring supplies you want at Narangba Timbers - we have locations in Brisbane and Sydney. To learn more, call us today on 1300 477 024.