Have you heard about one of the most interesting forms of alternative energy? It’s the human body, according to an article in Popular Science. While the wasted energy from human movement isn’t enough to power an entire house, over the past decade, researchers and scientists have been finding ways to have it charge electrical devices including cellphones.
“The human body contains enormous quantities of energy. In fact, the average adult has as much energy stored in fat as a one-ton battery. That energy fuels our everyday activities, but what if those actions could in turn run the electronic devices we rely on? Today, innovators around the world are banking on our potential to do just that,” according to Popular Science.
Kinetic refers to “movement.” When people move, their bodies produce kinetic energy, which can then be converted into power. You may not realize it, but you’ve probably seen kinetic energy at work. How so? Think about hand-cranked radios, flashlights, and computers – all of these require someone to fully participate.
Consider when you hit the gym for a moment. With every step on the treadmill, every squat, every Zumba class you take, you’re taking surplus calories and turning them into motion that believe it or not, can be used to produce electricity. While that one workout may not create a whole lot of energy, the energy from 100 gymgoers could create enough energy to power a generator or otherwise produce electricity.
The Green Microgym is located in Portland, Oregon. The gym uses machines, such as stationary bikes to gather the energy produced by people working out. For example, when members pedal, it turns a generator, which produces electricity that’s used to help power the gym.
"By being extremely energy-efficient and combining human power, solar and someday wind, I believe we'll be able to be net-zero for electricity sometime this year," says Adam Boesel, owner of Green Microgym.
Max Donelan is a researcher at Locomotion Laboratory at Simon Fraser University in British Columbia, who collaborated with other researchers from America and Canada. The team developed an electromagnetic generator that is fitted to a knee brace. Donelan, the prototype, turned a one-minute walk into enough current to power a cellphone conversation for a full 30 minutes. At Lightning Bug Electric, we think that’s a fantastic use of scientific research and technology!