The next renewable energy source could be right underfoot. A group of UW–Madison engineers has developed an inexpensive method to convert footsteps into electricity using wood pulp and nanofibers incorporated into flooring. It marks the latest advance in “roadside energy harvesting” — green energy that could, in some settings, rival solar power and doesn’t depend on fair weather. High-traffic areas, such as a stadium or mall, could produce significant amounts of energy. Associate professor Xudong Wang hopes to demonstrate the concept by building an educational prototype in a high-profile spot on campus.
Published in the Summer 2017 issue