Sunday, April 10, 2005

My Idea for a source of energy

Gas prices in the US seem to be on a steady climb nowadays. Buying a hybrid vehicle seems to be the best way to go in the present times. Thinking of this makes me realize the significance of all the research that goes into finding new and alternative sources of energy. The list of alternative sources of energy that are actually being harvested at the moment includes, Hydroelectric, Solar, Tidal, Geothermal, Wind, Biomass and Biogas.

I came up with a workable idea for a new source of electric power. It is not novel in the way power is generated, but it is in novel in the part of the available energy (remember the universal law of energy transformation?) it converts to electrical energy. It all started with me fogeting to carry my Audio Player to the gym. Since, I didn't have any music to listen to while I biked, I got thinking....!!

If you have ever been to a gym, you have probably observed that all the cardio exercise machines, except the treadmills, do not require external power for their operation (if you discount the LED diplays). So, I wonder if it might be posible to use all the human energy that gets expended on the bikes, the elliptical machines and the stepping machines to power the treadmills, and possibly some more?


Ask me about it. said...

Energy can be classified into two types.. energy that can be "stored/transmitted/used else where" and energy that can be "used where it is produced". For the stored/transmitted/ used else where type of energy a good source is justified based on three aspects... reliability, cost and environmental impact. It might be interesting to note that environmental impact and reliability rank as the best parameters besides cost (although reliability and environmental impact can also contribute to costs as maintainance and remediation issues) in comparing the various energy sources. So unless you have a gym where bikes are running non-stop(with bonded labour from some asian / african nation i presume....) this is not a viable option for reliability purposes (assuming energy is transmitted for use as it is generated). For purposes of storing energy and then using it elsewhere the accepted method is converting mechanical energy to electrical energy and storing this in chemical storage devices or electrical storage devices (devices like flywheel type energy storage where inertial energy is stored are also available). For storing in these type of devices the obvious problem is storing enough energy before you can remove the storage device and use it else where... if you generate very small amounts (like those that you would generate during ur two hour work out) the losses are significant as compared to the generated energy. Again you would need a dedicated workforce to generate enough storage energy. (a good question to ask would be where do we see people exerting energy solely for the sake of spending it.. like they do in a gym) To talk of the obvious, dynamo installed on the cycles (remember HERO cycles??) is an application of "use where you produce" type of energy. Hope I didnt bore you.. nice blog though.

Anil said...


That was some very cool inputs. I was actually going to indicate a "store and use later" form of solution to this problem myself. But, I was planning on keeping it for a later post ;-). The main reason why I think we would have to use such a means of energy transfer is because of the fact that the rate of generation is very variable in such a scenario.
Nevertheless, you did bring up some very logical reasons why such a solution wouldnt be as practical as it seems at first thought. That wasn't boring at all, infact, I think I am going to post this your inputs as a separate blog!!
Thanks for the compliment about my blog :-)

Ask me about it. said...

I am flattered.... lol.
Thanks for the attention though. Keep posting... and keep blogging...