News / Health

Spinning Exercise into Environmental Action

Exercise bikes convert fitness energy into clean electricity

Health club members can see how much electricity they generate while riding their exercise bikes.
Health club members can see how much electricity they generate while riding their exercise bikes.
June Soh

Riders of a new kind of exercise bicycle can generate electric power for their fitness center's use while they burn their own calories.  
The technology helps health clubs save money and also gives added incentive for the exercisers to work harder.

In a group exercise class at one of the Washington Sports Club's locations in Washington D.C., riders spin their bikes faster and faster following the instructor's command.

Jillian Cooney, a sports club for four years, enjoys the spinning class. But these days, she says, the group exercise is a little different.



"I think it is more challenging. I would not necessarily say it is more difficult but more challenging," says Cooney. "I challenge myself more with these levels than when I use the resistance."

The sports club's stationary cycles were recently retrofitted with so-called "Green Revolution" technology, which turns every bike into an electrical generator. The technology allows riders to generate power with every turn of the pedals.

"We put a generator on each bike in the group cycling studio so while the fitness enthusiasts are getting their workout," says Mike Curnyn, of The Green Revolution, a company based in the eastern U.S. state of Connecticut, "their energy is being captured and being converted to clean electricity that is being used to help power the health club."

A touch-pad screen on each exercise bike shows how much energy the cycle is sending to the electricity grid.
A touch-pad screen on each exercise bike shows how much energy the cycle is sending to the electricity grid.

Instead of turning a knob to adjust resistance, riders control the resistance levels of the bike with a touch-pad screen, which also shows how much energy the cycle has sent to the grid.

"We add this control panel. If you want to simulate you are climbing a hill, you would click the uphill button and now the resistance level will change," says Curnyn. "It can go up to level 20. Or if you wanted to be on a flat road and you wanted to sprint, then you could lower the resistance. The key is, by changing the resistance levels on the control panel, they are now controlling how much electricity they're producing."

No single rider generates a large amount of electricity in a one-hour session.  But Curnyn says if you add in the bike next to yours, and the one next to that, and so on, you can see real results.

"Each person has the potential to generate about 100 watt-hours during their hour cycling class, so if you have 25 people in the class, you have the potential to create about 2 ½ to 3 kilowatts of electricity," says Curnyn. "And that is enough electricity to light all the lights in this large fitness room, or to light the air conditioning system that is being used to cool the health club."

Not only does this help the health club save money, it also provides added incentive for the exercisers to work harder.

"I like that since I am coming to the gym to work out anyway it is good that I get a work-out while also helping produce energy and cutting back on the power the gym has to use," says sports club member Jillian Cooney.

Michel Pranikof has tried the bike twice so far. "I really like it. This is really cool because you know that you are contributing to the environment. You are actually giving power, giving some power back."

The Green Revolution's first installation was a year and a half ago.  Now, they have installations in about 60 facilities across the United States and Canada. The company is testing ways to apply the technology to other kinds of cardio-fitness devices, such as rowing machines and elliptical trainers.

You May Like

Unpaid Kurdish Fighters Sign of Economic Woes

Sharp cuts in Kurdistan's budget by Baghdad, falling oil revenue, coping with refugees, inflated public sector have hit regional economy hard More

Koreas Exchange List of Envoys for Family Reunion Talks

Officials will discuss date, venue and number of participants for reunion; Seoul hopes to hold event late this month More

China Targets 197 in Online Speech Crackdown

Nearly 200 punished for 'spreading rumors' online in ongoing crackdown on free speech More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Calais School Offers Another Face of Europe’s Migrant Crisisi
X
Lisa Bryant
September 02, 2015 6:19 PM
Europe is facing mounting criticism over how it’s handling its biggest migration crisis since World War II. But not all Europeans believe building walls or passing repressive policies are the answer. A school for migrants in the French port city of Calais, is opening doors and building bonds across nationalities. VOA's Lisa Bryant reports.
Video

Video Calais School Offers Another Face of Europe’s Migrant Crisis

Europe is facing mounting criticism over how it’s handling its biggest migration crisis since World War II. But not all Europeans believe building walls or passing repressive policies are the answer. A school for migrants in the French port city of Calais, is opening doors and building bonds across nationalities. VOA's Lisa Bryant reports.
Video

Video Russia-Japan Relations Cool as Putin Visits China for WWII Anniversary

Russian President Vladimir Putin is in Beijing for commemorations of the 70th anniversary of China's WWII victory over Japan. Putin is expected to visit Japan later this year, but tensions between Tokyo and Moscow over islands disputed since the war, and sanctions over Ukraine, could pour cold water on the plan. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Kurdish Fighters on IS Frontline Ready for Offensive

Finger on the trigger, the Kurdish Peshmerga soldier stared across the dust at a village taken over by Islamic State extremists. The Kurdistan’s Khazir frontline, just 45 minutes from the Islamic State stronghold of Mosul. And at this point, the militants were less than two kilometers away. VOA's Sharon Behn reports.
Video

Video Yemen ‘on Brink of Disaster’ as Medical Shortages Soar

Aid agencies warn Yemen is on the brink of humanitarian disaster – with up to half a million children facing severe malnutrition, and hospitals running out of basic medicines. There are fears Yemen's civil war could escalate as the coalition led by Saudi Arabia tries to drive back Houthi rebels, who seized control of much of the country earlier this year. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Apps Helping Kenyan Businesses Stay Ahead of Counterfeiters

Counterfeit goods in Kenya cost the government as much as $1 billion each year in lost tax revenues. The fake goods also hurt entrepreneurs who find it hard to carve out a niche in the market and retain customers. But as Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi, information technology is being used to try to beat the problem.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.

VOA Blogs