• Tone F
  • Chelmsford
  • United Kingdom

This conversation is closed.

Exercise farms for generating electricity and reducing the impact of weight-related problems on healthcare.

Would it not be feasible to generate a substantial quantity of stored electricity through co-operative exercise?

Perhaps if people were paid to generate this power, obesity would be less of a problem, and the demand on healthcare would reduce.

Now if this was expanded to a national scheme, with many "farms", and many stations, i.e. exercise bikes. Could we at least offset some of the harm that coal and nuclear power generation does?

According to a certain product, their device can generate approximately 70 watts for a 20 minute workout. Enough, they claim, to power a laptop for an hour.
If a sizeable portion of the population regularly partook of the activity, and the power generated could be efficiently harvested and stored; what's to stop a million or more people from working out for 20 minutes a day, collecting some credit, and generating enough power to keep the city humming for a couple of months?

  • Tone F

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    Jul 3 2012: Thanks everyone for your positive feedback.

    I'm glad that you believe it could work.

    What would the next be? Take it to the government? Would they even listen?
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    Jul 2 2012: I like your thinking.

    A conventional Gym contains equipment requiring an external power source to work (such as treadmills, power plates, etc). Other equipment relies on resistance to provide the muscle workout (exercise bikes, cross-trainers, weights etc) - which as you point out, are the ones that could potentially provide power.

    (I wonder if it is possible to design an alternative to weight machines, where dynamos are used via a gearing system, to provide similar resistance to weights?)

    I guess an alternative to your idea would be to have an off-grid self-powered exercise farm, if the two equipment types were to be linked. Then any excess could be used in air-conditioning the gym, or stored/ harvested for external use.
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    Jul 2 2012: What a way to think outside the box. I can't believe I'm saying this, but that is a damn good idea. It would be kind of funny to think at night that the heater is partially being powered by people trying to lose weight.
  • Tone F

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    Jun 29 2012: Are you being derisive? Or genuinely supportive of the idea? The device already exists, and so does the method of energy generation. But the scheme would need to be widely adopted for it to have any effect on the national grid, and fossil fuel consumption.

    However charming or quaint the notion proposed is, all that really matters is: can it possibly work?
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      Jun 30 2012: Sorry of not having been clear in my comment. I think this is a good idea, as it really tackles two major concerns in modern societies.

      The concern I have is, that weight-related problems in healthcare are based on even the lack of exercise in addition to too much calories. So if you wan't to get those people to exercise, the money they could earn per hour must be that tempting, that they are willing to leave their 'comfort zone' freely. Given the current price of one kWh the incentive may not be working. And not even counting the investment on the equipment to be taken. As I assume you are not going to force them by law to exercise - which would be dictatorial - the concept itself may not pay off.

      But what makes your idea feasible in my eyes are all those people which are using the gym in free will anyway. And why not transferring their energy in electricity instead of frictional heat. Again the investment for all new equipment may not pay off it could be installed gradually over time in which the equipment gets replaced anyway. Parallel to this the concept of decentralized energy supply is already in discussion and once implemented, energy storage and transformers may drop in pice, which would help your idea coming alive.
      • Tone F

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        Jun 30 2012: Thanks for clarifying that. I thought you were implying something else entirely by employing the word "kindergarten".

        Who knows, perhaps in the future we will all be working out to veg out? Perhaps it might become a career for some. They could work for the energy companies, and the very fittest could compete against one another for fame, fortune, and a much greener world in... the first annual Power Generation Games! Brought to you by Powerade ;)

        But seriously, I think it would be great if competitive sports events were to somehow utilise the movement by its participants, and convert it into something more useful.

        Would dynamos in trainers work?

        How about having the next Olympics powered by Usain Bolt, or Mo Farah?
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          Jun 30 2012: Yes, the kindergarten gave the false spin to what was stated before, I can see it now.
          But, seen in a half-serious way, there truly is a lot of free energy running and screaming around. Maybe this makes up for all the dark matter which is still missing yet not been seen because no one expecting it that close and the least at kindergarten... :o)

          I like your 'big picture' of the future and it already includes its marketing strategy!

          Depending on the trainer, dynamos will work and could be attached to the transmissions which are probably installed in some of them already. And as long as you get the right torque and rotations per minute, you are ready to go to plug it in. Maybe a capacitor could be set before the transformer and the grid to flatten out irregularities and peaks induced my multiple dynamos.

          And yes, Usain Bolt and Mo Farah would make us wonder who behind the media is really 'running' the broadcasting network... :o)

          Good Luck for your inspiring idea! And thanks for sharing it!
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    Jun 29 2012: .

    What a charming idea and catching two flies with one stroke!

    Storing energy still is a bit on the difficult side, yet getting it into the grid directly would already work today!
    Keep thinking on this concept! And if you can find a way to harvest all this extra energy in kindergarten,
    you will become a nominee for the Nobel-Prize... :o)