New kinetic flooring brings the opportunity to generate energy from the power of footsteps and its costs are falling.
So called kinetic flooring comprised of composite tiles with electromagnetic generators is attracting growing interest as an option for clean energy generation from the footfall.
Rollouts have included night clubs, railway stations and airports and the potential is there for any location in which people walk – and the greater the foot traffic the more power generation is possible.
With the price dropping – as little as £5 (US$7) is expected by the late 2020s – kinetic flooring could become a key element of sustainable homes, particularly those with active youngsters.
To get an idea of the potential, UK price comparison service money.co.uk has calculated the numbers of steps required to power a kitchen based on 2-5J of energy generated per step.
● Toaster (three minutes to make toast) – 40,800 to 102,000 steps. Estimated average yearly use cost £8 ($11,10)
● Kettle (three minutes to boil) – 43,200 to 108,000 steps. Ave yearly cost £39 ($54,12)
● Microwave (three minute meal) – 36,000 to 90,000 steps. Ave yearly cost £6.50 ($9)
● Fan assisted oven (30 minutes to cook) – 432,000 to 1.08 million steps. Ave yearly cost £164 ($227,6)
● Fridge freezer (per hour of use) – 1.76.million to 4.39 million steps. Ave yearly cost £56 ($77,73)
● Washing machine (one hour cycle) – 576,000 to 1.44 million steps. Ave yearly cost £59 ($81,89)
● Tumble drier (40 minute cycle) – 1.44 million to 3.6 million steps. Ave yearly cost £78. ($108.27)
Ben Gallizzi, Senior Content Editor at money.co.uk, who is behind these figures, says that energy production by kinetic tiles was a renewable resource he had become fascinated by in a search for interesting and novel alternatives.
“Current technology shows just how much power it takes to run our appliances and why we should consider switching to more efficient and cost-effective energy sources for our future homes,” says Gallizzi.
“This could mean big changes to what customers look for when searching for the best green energy deals in the future and imagine what our energy comparison sites might look like by 2035 if we are comparing energy deals by the number of steps needed to power your kettle?”
It may take a dance marathon or two to keep the kitchen up and running – and the current cost for a fitting at around £6,000 ($8328) may be uneconomical – but undoubtedly technological advancements will improve efficiencies as the costs also decline.
For the record some other energy alternatives that made the radar of novel alternatives are biogas resulting from excess heat recovered in sewage treatment aka ‘poo power’, microbial fuel cell energy aka ‘pee power’, heat generated in crematoria, jellyfish green fluorescent protein as an alternative to silicon in solar panels, biofuel derived from seaweed, body heat and methane digestion from cows.