Not only sunlight, even your footsteps can be converted into usable electricity
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Since a long time, the world has been going gaga over the benefits of generating electricity from sunlight and water. But if we tell you that even your footsteps can be converted into usable electricity, wouldn’t that surprise you? Thanks to a green flooring invented by University of Wisconsin-Madison materials engineers. It is with the help of this flooring that footsteps can be converted into usable electricity.

This research, which was published in the journal Nano Energy, revealed that The method puts to good use a common waste material: wood pulp, which is already a common component of flooring and is partly made of cellulose nanofibers. When chemically treated, these tiny fibers produce an electrical charge when they come into contact with untreated nanofibers.

According to the research team, “When the nanofibers are embedded within flooring, they're able to produce electricity that can be harnessed to power lights or charge batteries. And because wood pulp is a cheap, abundant and renewable waste product of several industries, flooring that incorporates the new technology could be as affordable as conventional materials.”

It must be noted that chemically treated cellulose nanofibers are a simple, low-cost, and effective alternative for harnessing this broadly existing mechanical energy source, said Xudong Wang, an associate professor of materials science and engineering at UW-Madison.

The UW-Madison team's advance is the latest in a green energy research field called "roadside energy harvesting" that could, in some settings, rival solar power -- and it doesn't depend on fair weather. The researchers see the ground as holding great renewable energy potential well beyond its limited fossil fuel reserves. “Heavy traffic floors in hallways and places like stadiums and malls that incorporate the technology could produce significant amounts of energy,” said Wang says.

The researchers revealed that each functional portion inside such flooring has two differently charged materials -- including the cellulose nanofibers, and would be a millimeter or less thick. The floor could include several layers of the functional unit for higher energy output.

"So once we put these two materials together, electrons move from one to another based on their different electron affinity. The electron transfer creates a charge imbalance that naturally wants to right itself but as the electrons return, they pass through an external circuit. The energy that process creates is the end result of TENGs,” added Wang.

We are sure that this technique of generating electricity would not be cheap but also durable.