Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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People Power Pumps

Public Kinetic Energy Input Stations
  [vote for,

WHERE: Bus stops. Parks. Public Buildings. Places where people wait or walk.
WHAT: Pressure plates. Wall-mounted winding cranks. Pedal-powered flywheels. All connected to kinetic energy transfer or storage systems.
WHO: Idle, cold, civic-minded, energetic and/or fitness-conscious people.
HOW: While waiting for buses or waiting for services or trying to stay warm or getting light workouts in the park, citizens jump, wind, pump, pedal to keep warm, get loose, get fit on these People Power Pumps. The energy generated can be stored either electrically in batteries or in kinetic energy storage devices (i.e. flywheels, tension wound cylinders)
WHY: Because it feels good. And saves your local government money. And reduces reliance on non-renewable energy resources.
Captures for civic purposes energy that would otherwise be wasted.
Inspired by UnaBubba's People Power idea.
roby, Mar 06 2003

Hand crank generator http://www.creative...ce.org.uk/gen1.html
Little light bulbs [roby, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 21 2004]

Power House Gyms http://home.gwi.net...ouse/powerhouse.htm
Someone's idea for power-generating health clubs [roby, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 21 2004]

Output Measurements http://users.erols....mshaver/bikegen.htm
Using pedal power: 150 Watts continuous for 30 minutes. Peak outputs 250 Watts. [roby, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 21 2004]


       This would probably only work if you paid people for their input. Otherwise the things will just stand idle and be vandalized.   

       I've watched the calorie counter on the Erg when I'm exercising: it takes a really depressing amount of time to register even a cream cupcake's worth. I shudder to think how much pedalling it would take to generate a kilowatt-hour.
DrCurry, Mar 06 2003

       Wonder no longer! 859,845 calories = 1 Kilowatt-hour. Since a US Calorie is actually a kilo-calorie (1000 calories), 1 Kwh = 860 Calories. This is about the number of Calories in a Double Whopper.   

       Let's see. In northern California I'm paying around $0.15 per Kwh. It takes me a good 15 minutes to reach 100 Calories jogging. That would mean in a 30 minute workout I'd earn the city $0.02. Assuming the cost of the sidewalk-jogging machine cost them $1,000 and it's used 4 hours per day, factoring in perhaps 50% efficiency... Only about a 32 year payback.   

       That's actually not terrible, and could imagine it being worth it if: the cost of energy goes up, you can really build the things for $1,000, people acutally use the things for 4 hours per day, and maintenence can be absorbed by other agencies. I'll give it a croissant just for actually coming near a reasonably payback at the HB.
Worldgineer, Mar 07 2003

       Powering a manual generator, the energy (calories) the person burns isn't translated directly into the amount of electrical power generated, which is also more than is usable after 'leakage' in the conversion/ transmission/ storage process.
Still, knowing that you can use hand cranks to power torches and radios, there is likely a decent return on capturing some energetic human physical activity.
roby, Mar 07 2003

       Worldgineer: actually the cost of the equipment would also be offset by reduced healthcare costs from increased fitness.
DrCurry, Mar 07 2003

       OK, extrapolating from the output results in the link at left, one pedal generator would take 3 hours 20 minutes to generate 1000 Watts (1 kWh).
[Worldgineer] calculations above amazingly close. How did you do that!
roby, Mar 07 2003

       This idea reminds me of the "Stationary Bike Park" in L.A. Story (movie, filmed mid '90s, Steve Martin).
Worldgineer, Mar 07 2003

       Maybe a card reader could be incorporated that would credit your electric bill. Pay for your bus fare. Support your favorite charity. hmmm
sweepea, Oct 17 2003

       this idea inspired me to get an account here. i have a friend who peddals smothies at community gatherings. he built a blender attachment for a stationary bike.
prism, Mar 25 2004

       The concept is sound. The amount of kinetic energy available is astounding. Consider doors being opened and closed, energy sent to ground from people walking, climbing stairs, weight of vehicles over roads, wind, even the act of sitting on a couch or chair. The efficiency doesn't have to be great if the quantity is everywhere. Piezoelectric, microhydraulic, direct generator, you name it... if we could first capture, route, and then store (hydraulics, flywheel, capacitance) these energies, consider the abundance.
tdharlow, Mar 16 2005

       [prism] I was recently told about a little smoothie shop in Hawaii that isn't anywhere near power lines. Customers choose ingredients, then hop onto a bike-blender to blend it themselves.
Worldgineer, Mar 16 2005

       Pity the poor bastard who has to keep the refrigerator going...
shapu, Mar 16 2005

       Without knocking the idea, here's some economics: 1 KWh is worth approx 7p or 10c (very roughly). That is about the same as two people working out full tilt, for an hour. So you work out full tilt (and I mean _REALLY_ work out), for an hour, and that's worth about 3.5p or 5c. The residual energy from doors and such is miniscule... but this does give me another idea... Yours is half baked, one croissant well earned.
Mat-C, Jun 27 2005


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