Produce Your Own Energy With a Human Generator
With all the talk today about renewable resources a human generation is certain to catch the public's attention. A bicycle is a human energy generator as you provide the energy to power the machine that is the bicycle.
Today you can buy commercially available products advertised as human power generators. These are usually a variation of the same circular pedal motion you associate with riding your bike.
A human generator may be a platform with two handles that turn just as the pedals of a bicycle. You turn these handles with your hands to charge a 12V battery. The manufacturer claims you can create 35-65 watts of power while turning this crank.
A generator powered by you is an interesting product as it has potential for use after a natural disaster as well as potential for saving electricity on the power grid.
The human generators only produce power while they are being turned by hand or by foot so the focus is usually on using people power to add energy to a battery that can store the energy produced.
Applications for such a human generator easily come to mind. You couldn't power a refrigerator or freezer with a 12v battery but you could provide light in an area where no power is available. This could be an added source of power in areas where you live off the power grid.
If cloudy days have reduced the effectiveness of solar power, a human generator could provide light in your home by using a small battery than can be recharged. Such a battery could power a small radio or enable emergency communications.
Small generators may have cables to connect them directly with a small radio or appliance so you can add power on demand. Of more use, however, are units that include a battery where your cranking efforts can be stored for later use.
Pedal power is gaining in popularity with consumers anxious to save the environment. When you consider using a human generator you will quickly realize there are many reasons to charge your own batteries by using your own muscles.
Riding a bicycle is excellent exercise. Peddling strengthens muscles, keeps your body flexible and is good aerobic exercise for your heart as well.
Bicycles have never gone out of fashion. Trail riding, mountain bides, bicycle races and marathons are popular activities year after year.
On highways it's common to see large camping vehicles with 2 or more bicycles strapped to the pack of the camper or strapped on top of the vehicle.
Bikes are a great way to explore and experience a new area without enclosing yourself in a car or worrying about rules of the road or fuel expenses.
For many families a bike stored in the garage is used occasionally while an exercise bike resides inside the home. The generator powered by you replaces that exercise bike.
Instead of riding to nowhere you are riding in place but creating and storing energy at the same time. It's a win-win situation for you and for the environment.
You can build your own pedal generator or buy a stationary bicycle designed to generate power as you exercise each day. That bike can run an inverter that yields 110v AC and charge batteries that can be used for the next 24 hours.
With those batteries you can run LED lights, power the computer monitor and charge your cell phone. You can even charge your golf cart and anything else you can think of.
Low Tech Power
A generator powered by your body is a low tech machine. You can even watch TV while you exercise - and power the TV by turning the pedals on your exercise bike.
It's not hard to realize the benefits you can obtain with a generator that acts as a simple stationary exercise bike.
The dream of many environmentalists and survivalists is to live entirely off the grid. The goal a home in an area that is natural and away from the noise and smog of civilization carries its own set of requirements. When you live off the grid you give up many everyday luxuries.
However, if you plan well you can have the same lifestyle even when living off the power grid. Passive solar homes have become rather common in hot regions of the country and wind farms are springing up in areas where winds are fairly routine and predictable.
A problem with relying on solar power or wind power to provide electricity for your home is that both rely on nature to be efficient.
Several days of haze and dense cloud cover means solar power cannot be collected to fuel your home's storage batteries in an active solar home.
A few days of totally calm conditions leaves your wind turbine standing as still as a stork on one leg and no power is generated.
By combining solar panels with a wind turbine and a sturdy generator you can be assured you will have the electricity to light your home and run small appliances.
When relying on nature for providing energy to homes off the grid, a combination of energy sources is a wise decision.
A human powered generator can as simple as a small steel base with a gear, bicycle chain and two pedals installed on the base. Other generators may be designed for hand turning but the best is the pedal design as you can used feet or hands as you want.
Potential for the Future
Though the human energy generator has been used for years by inventive homeowners and campers there is a new field developing that provides human power for many different uses.
There are studies underway to develop human powered prosthetic devices and even small chips that will capture your normal body movements and capture the natural energy to power a cell phone or a pacemaker or other small electronic devices.
The stationary bicycle human energy generator is being produced as a pedal power table that provides power for a personal computer. Even human powered vehicles are being tested. These small vehicles could be used just as golf carts are used today in some neighborhoods.
The standard bicycle is now getting the recognition it deserves. Commercial exercise bikes that generate power may soon be on the market at prices most can afford. Bicycles sale have increased as the price of auto fuel has risen.
There are also models being tested as dynapods where one or two person models provide a comfortable seat and pedals that use a flywheel to charge batteries.
In underdeveloped countries, this type of human energy generator could also be modified to grind grain and for other daily uses.
When we consider the widely discussed renewable resources that may be used to provide our power needs in the future, the generator for human deserves a place in that list of resources.
If fossil fuels become scarce (which will happen eventually) and the cost of solar and wind power is high, batteries fueled by a person's movements may be a valuable energy source to consider.
Creating and storing power that costs nothing is attractive. The potential to maintain the strength and health of your muscles and your heart is a powerful incentive.