The following 2 articles describe a type of energy generating dance floor and a club that hopes to save energy by using one.
The savings turn out to be very small. Here is my reasoning:
- “Dancing” means people all jumping up and down in rhythm. On each jump, a person raises their center of gravity by 10 cm ( a large amount to do continuously… try it.)
- The dancers are jumping at 1 beat/sec, which is fairly fast.
- There are 100 people dancing on one of these floors. (The $250,000 floor at Club Watt is 270 square feet, so that would be the upper limit of people.)
- The floor converts 12% of the dancing energy into electricity. If it captured 100%, then they would not be able to dance because it would take all their energy. So assume it takes 25% of the dancing energy and is 50% efficient, (a very high estimate) to get 12%
- How much would this produce?
- Power = energy/time = mgh/(1 sec) = (.12)(100 people)(70kg)(9.8 m/s^2)(.1m)/(1 sec) = 823 W
This would be like 100 people packed shoulder to shoulder jumping up and down as if skipping rope, keeping it up continuously even though the floor was taking 25% more of their energy than a regular floor would take. In a real world situation, without overcrowding, Olympic athletes, and high efficiencies, I’d think they’d get about half of this, or 400W.
How much power does a club like this use? The article on Club Watt says they use about 700 kWh/day (a ton of energy!). Assuming they are open 24 hours each day, that would be a power consumption of about 30,000W. So the floor would represent 400/30,000 or about 1 percent of their electricity.
The second article claims that a floor like this could generate 60% of the electricity needed in the club. That's a pretty wild claim. When no numbers are given in an article like this, it's pretty suspicious.
If this kind of thing is meant as an educational tool, to get people thinking about energy issues, then great. But if the ‘education’ is something misleading, e.g. that gives people the idea that human power can make a scratch in our current energy consumption, then I’m not sure it’s a good idea.