From: Will Cushman
Published October 20, 2016 02:56 PM

Move over, solar: The next big renewable energy source could be at our feet

Flooring can be made from any number of sustainable materials, making it, generally, an eco-friendly feature in homes and businesses alike.

Now, however, flooring could be even more “green,” thanks to an inexpensive, simple method developed by University of Wisconsin–Madison materials engineers that allows them to convert footsteps into usable electricity.

Xudong Wang, an associate professor of materials science and engineering at UW–Madison, his graduate student Chunhua Yao, and their collaborators published details of the advance Sept. 24 in the journal Nano Energy.

The method puts to good use a common waste material: wood pulp. The pulp, which is already a common component of flooring, is partly made of cellulose nanofibers. They’re tiny fibers that, when chemically treated, produce an electrical charge when they come into contact with untreated nanofibers.

Continue reading at University of Wisconsin-Madison

Photo via Stephanie Precourt / University of Wisconsin-Madison

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