Yesterday, we took a look at how piezoelectrics— crystals or ceramics that generate voltage when mechanical stress is applied— could allow cell phones to be powered by sound waves. Now the East Japan Railway Company (JR East) has announced that it is installing piezoelectric elements in the floors of its Tokyo station in an attempt to generate power from passengers passing through ticket gates.
JR East will begin its experiment on December 10 and continue it until February 2009. The power-generating floor will cover an area of 25m squared and will be installed at 7 ticket gates and 7 staircase steps inside the gate.
The company expects the floors to produce 1,400 kW/sec each day. If the piezoelectric experiment is successful, the train station floors will ultimately be used to power ticket gates and electronic display systems.
For another example of a piezoelectric floor, check out London’s Bar Surya.
Photo Credit: Altus via flickr under a Creative Commons License
Ariel Schwartz was formerly the editor of CleanTechnica and is a contributor at Fast Company, Inhabitat, Triple Pundit, SF Weekly, and NBC Bay Area Online. A graduate of Vassar College, she has previously worked in publishing, organic farming, documentary film, and newspaper journalism. Her interests include permaculture, hiking, skiing, music, relocalization, and cob (the building material). She currently resides in San Francisco, CA.