The gym taps into the power of sweat.
Exercising at the gym requires a lot of energy – both for the sponsor and the gym itself. Now, new machines are being developed to capture it. A seattle-based company has developed a motion device that sends all the kinetic energy back to the grid. The “green gym” has appeared, with like-minded exercisers turning their sweat into kw – although the net effect may be smaller than you might think.
Modern gyms often use a lot of electricity, all the stairs, stationary bikes, and big-screen TVS. Now, some stadiums need not only to reduce the use of electricity, but also to put some electricity into the grid.
Deena Prichep, from Portland, ore., reports exercise equipment for generating electricity.
DEENA PRICHEP: Cory Bilger recently played an oval coach on Portland’s green microcapsules in an attempt to wear a bathing suit on the upcoming trip to Hawaii. And she’s not just burning calories, she’s generating electricity.
Ms. CORY BILGER: this is total power generation: 4.19 and number.
PRICHEP: this is the 4.19 watts she created.
Ms. Bilge: I actually took every exercise picture with my iPhone.
PRICHEP: the company that developed this machine is called Resource Fitness. Chief technology officer Aaron Byrd says, basically, think about the windmill.
Mr. AARON BIRD (chief technology officer for resource health) : wind turbines convert kinetic energy into electricity through a generator, then run through an inverter, turn it into alternating current, and then enter the grid.
PRICHEP: in this case, not the wind, strength comes from your legs. Resource bikes cost about $1,200, which is the standard for commercial fitness equipment. And all of their machines will plug in — sorry, into the grid. This makes them more efficient than using batteries, Byrd says.
Mr. BIRD: the problem with batteries is that when you charge the battery, and when you run out of batteries to recover the energy, both directions are effectively lost. When the battery is just sitting there, the efficiency will drop too, because it can’t hold energy forever.
Birch says birds still have some inevitable losses during the transition. But overall, the energy generation exercise equipment is very effective. It appears in gyms, colleges and apartments across the country.
One company, ReRev, is even preparing a series of bikes at Edwards air force base. But all these machines produce less energy than you think.
The owner of the green Microgym, Adam Boesel, sees the exercisers working on his energy generation bicycle and elliptical machine every day.
Mr. ADAM BOESEL (owner of Green Microgym) : so people usually generate electricity between 30 and 60 watts.
Bresser acknowledges that this is not a lot, but it is a matter.
Mr. BOESEL: thirty watt hours can power the iPad for three hours; 60 watt-hours can power stereo for an hour.
PRICHEP: sometimes, green microcapsules actually produce more energy, for example, all the machines are in rotation. But overall, the gym doesn’t even generate enough electricity to meet its needs. But, says Boesel, every bit helps.
Mr BOESEL: yes, the way we see is that you can choose to use waste a lot of power machine in the gym, or you can choose in the energy efficiency is very high in the gym, electricity.
PRICHEP: for microgym member Cory Bilger, reducing her carbon footprint is definitely part of the draw. It would be even better if she could prepare for a Hawaiian vacation.
Ms. Bilge: I told you I was wearing a bathing suit. This is a big problem.
PRIGEP: according to Bilger’s iPhone diary, she logged in 258 watts in February, enough to run her iPhone for about a month.
For NPR news, I’m Deena Prichep in Portland, Oregon.