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The East Japan Railway Company (JR-East), as part of research
aimed at developing more environmentally friendly train stations,
is testing an experimental system that produces electricity as people
pass through ticket gates. JR claims that this sort of human-powered
electricity generation system may provide a portion of the electricity
consumed at train stations in the future.
The ticket gate electricity generation system relies on a series of
piezo elements embedded in the floor under the ticket gates,
which generate electricity from the pressure and vibration they
receive as people step on them. When combined with high-efficiency
storage systems, the ticket gate generators can serve as a clean
source of supplementary power for the train stations. Busy train
stations (and those with large numbers of passengers willing to
bounce heavily through the gates) will be able to accumulate a
relatively large amount of electricity.
JR-East, who worked with Keio University to develop the system,
claims that in addition to being put to use as an independent power
supply that does not require hardwiring, the system can also be
used as a way of measuring the traffic flow through ticket gates.
Originally posted by Tom Bedlam
I think they're wildly overstating the amount of power that can be generated in this manner, and it won't take long before the griping starts.
Energy doesn't just come from nowhere. In this case, it will come from the commuters' legs. If the floor section doesn't have much "give" you won't get much energy. If it has enough "give" to generate significant amounts, then it will be tiring to walk on, like walking in sand.