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Alexander Shulgin could save our planet.
August 20, 2008 8:33 AM   Subscribe

Bar Surya in London was the first. Now Club Watt in Rotterdam is recycling dancers' energy. Brought to you by the Sustainable Dance Club.
posted by gman (22 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

 
What a neat idea.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 8:46 AM on August 20, 2008


Aw, hit it too soon...

PLU(RRR)
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 8:46 AM on August 20, 2008


Makes me wonder if Dance Dance Revolution could power the console.....
posted by gman at 8:46 AM on August 20, 2008


Event organisers at otherwise freezing Scottish village community halls have been doing this to ceilidh dancers for generations
posted by rongorongo at 9:06 AM on August 20, 2008


It's neat, but recycling is a misleading term. They're likely sapping the dancers of a bit more energy than a normal rigid dance floor.
posted by phrontist at 9:57 AM on August 20, 2008


I don't think so.. I've danced (for hours) on both sprung and unsprung floors, and without fail I last longer on the sprung floors. Much easer on the knees and ankles, for one.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 10:36 AM on August 20, 2008


dirtynumbangelboy: Right, but a sprung floor with no generative mechanism is going to tire you less than a floor with one.
posted by phrontist at 10:59 AM on August 20, 2008


This is a neat idea - imagine panels like this on roads, for example.
posted by agregoli at 11:02 AM on August 20, 2008


I'm thinking no, phrontist. The energy is generated from springs under the floor, which you would be compressing anyway.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 11:07 AM on August 20, 2008


But it isn't generated by the springs. When you compress a spring, you store some potential energy in mechanical flexing, and you lose some to heat. So if I jump on a spring-supported panel from an elevated I will pop up in the air a bit as I recover some energy from my initial investment (stepping on to the platform), but I won't be returned to the height of the platform (due to waste heat losses). However they're getting energy from the movement of floor panels, it's going to require more exertion from the dancers.
posted by phrontist at 11:18 AM on August 20, 2008


Engadget describes how at least one such system works. By compressing those piezeoelectric blocks, you're going to be working harder than you would otherwise.

It's still more ergonomic than a concrete floor, because your limbs don't have to absorb the shocks of dancing, so you last longer, but you wouldn't last as long as on sprung floor without the piezos.
posted by phrontist at 11:22 AM on August 20, 2008


I should think the difference would be infinitesemal.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 11:28 AM on August 20, 2008


Well, whatever energy you get out of the floor will be the net energy you sap from the dancers collectively, minus the likely significant mechanical and electrical losses in transmission.

My point here is just that you aren't "recovering" "waste" energy at all. The individual amount of energy sapped per dancer probably is notable, but you'd need a hell of a lot of dancers to generate anything near significant amounts of power. I very much doubt you could run even a small fraction of nightclub power from such a dancefloor.

In other words, this is kind of neat, but misleading and not really environmentally friendly.
posted by phrontist at 11:35 AM on August 20, 2008 [1 favorite]


sorry, probably isn't noticable
posted by phrontist at 11:36 AM on August 20, 2008


This is a neat idea - imagine panels like this on roads, for example.

What would they do? Again, you'd be losing a ton of energy to transmission, and any energy you do get out of it would be coming directly from the fuel tanks of those driving over.
posted by phrontist at 11:37 AM on August 20, 2008


My point here is just that you aren't "recovering" "waste" energy at all.

Sure you are. When you jump up you turn chemical energy temporarily into kinetic energy, but when you come crashing back down onto the ground that kinetic energy is turned into sound and fury heat, signifying nothing. If you put a generator between the person and the ground, you can capture some of that energy. This is like if people had fun by lifting heavy rocks and then just throwing them anywhere, and you realized you could turn a generator with those rocks-- you are recovering waste energy, since it's the lifting that takes energy, not the falling.
posted by Pyry at 11:48 AM on August 20, 2008


Well, geez, phrontist, I'm not a freaking scientist. It sounds like a neat idea that could have practical applications beyond a club. I'm not going to be the one that has a diagram and explanation for you of how it could be used.
posted by agregoli at 11:59 AM on August 20, 2008


My question is, how efficient is it?

This sounds like one of those dealios where it's extremely interesting in concept, but only generates enough energy to power a small light bulb at best...

Does anyone have a solid idea of how much energy this actually produces?
posted by guptaxpn at 12:08 PM on August 20, 2008


Great idea. Just to round out the links (not to mention derail): I'm Dancing as Fast as I Can and They Shoot Horses Don't They?
posted by binturong at 12:12 PM on August 20, 2008


Does anyone have a solid idea of how much energy this actually produces?

One of the articles said 5-10W per person.
posted by Pyry at 12:12 PM on August 20, 2008


Sure you are. When you jump up you turn chemical energy temporarily into kinetic energy, but when you come crashing back down onto the ground that kinetic energy is turned into sound and fury heat, signifying nothing. If you put a generator between the person and the ground, you can capture some of that energy. This is like if people had fun by lifting heavy rocks and then just throwing them anywhere, and you realized you could turn a generator with those rocks-- you are recovering waste energy, since it's the lifting that takes energy, not the falling.

You're very much right. I meant waste energy relative to a springy floor with no piezo elements... if you just have springs the dancers get that energy "back", with piezos, they get less, because you've used some of it to induce an electrical current.
posted by phrontist at 12:19 PM on August 20, 2008


I should think the difference would be infinitesimal.

I'm a freaking scientist, and the amount of energy they're generating is infinitesimal. They'll be lucky if the energy generated repays the energy invested in construction and maintenance of the dance floor equipment.

5-10 watts/person, say 10. 2000 people dancing at once (yea right) for 5 hours per night. That's 10 * 2000 = 20,000W = 20kW. 20kW for 5 hours is 100kWh of electricity. In Ontario, the upper bound for retail electricity is 7 cents per kWh. 7 bucks of energy per night, in this relentlessly optimistic scenario. If you attach a premium to renewable energy, say as high as the Ontario Power Authority gives Solar PV electricity (40 cents/kWh), then you've made 40 dollars/night of electricity.

Split that 40 dollars 2000 ways, and you can give your club goers their hourly rebate of 0.4 cents per hour.

The amount of energy we use as an industrialized society is terrifying when you start thinking of it in terms of human labor.
posted by anthill at 1:01 PM on August 20, 2008 [6 favorites]


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