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Pedestrian footsteps, a source of electrical energy for the future?

© Marie Fontaine -

The quest for renewable and sustainable energy is crucial to combat climate change and support the energy transition. Experts are exploring novel energy sources, including the energy generated by pedestrian footsteps, which could be converted into electricity. .

Promising experiments are underway, particularly in high-traffic areas such as nightclubs, stadiums or sports venues.

The technology is based on converting the mechanical energy of pedestrians' footsteps into electricity using piezoelectric materials that generate an electric current under pressure or deformation.

By integrating them into the flooring, the energy of the footsteps is recovered when they walk, dance or run. It is then stored in batteries or capacitors, or used directly to power electrical equipment such as lighting, display panels, or ventilation systems. In some cases, the energy produced can also be fed back into the electrical grid.

Several pilot projects have been launched in different countries, with encouraging results.

For example, a nightclub in the United Kingdom has installed a piezoelectric floor that generates electricity when patrons dance on it. The owners of the establishment estimate that this installation could reduce the nightclub's energy consumption by 5 to 10%.

In the Netherlands, a similar project was deployed in a gym, where treadmills were equipped with piezoelectric tiles. The results show that one user can produce up to 150 watts of energy per hour, which would significantly reduce the gym's electricity consumption.

Finally, experiments have also been conducted in soccer stadiums, where thousands of spectators generate considerable energy by walking, jumping or dancing.

Researchers estimate that the energy generated by pedestrians in a stadium could power up to 10% of the stadium's electricity needs during a game.

Ongoing experiments show that the energy released by pedestrians' footsteps has interesting potential for electricity generation. However, this technology is still in its infancy, and several challenges must be overcome. These include the cost of piezoelectric materials, system durability and maintenance, and energy conversion efficiency.

By improving this technology, its deployment in other high-traffic areas, such as train stations, airports or shopping malls, could be considered.

The energy from pedestrians' footsteps could then be used to power public infrastructure and urban services, reducing the demand for non-renewable electricity.


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