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

Mali's Female Basketball Players Rebound After Islamist Occupation

Islamist extremists ruled northern Mali for most of 2012, imposing strict Sharia law, and now some 18 months later, the region is slowly getting back on its feet More

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

Many Chinese-made products go unsold, for now, with numerous Vietnamese consumers still angry over recent dispute More

Koreas Mark 61st Anniversary of War Armistice

Muted observances on both sides of heavily-armed Demilitarized Zone that separates two decades-long enemies 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.
Students in Business for Themselvesi
X
Mike O'Sullivan
July 26, 2014 11:04 AM
They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid