Some green-minded students in France managed to transform discarded junk into recumbent-style exercise bikes that generated enough electricity to power an entire film festival. The wooden bikes were constructed of waste debris taken from trash bins and were then retrofitted with small generators to produce 100% clean pedal power.
The engineering students were from School of Mines in Saint-Étienne, and they worked alongside local designers as part of the Open Sources project aimed at finding a way to generate electricity from kinetic energy.
They managed to accomplish this goal by supplying enough electricity to power the Saint-Étienne Film Festival with nothing but good ‘ole elbow grease. The team produced several plastic electricity-producing bike prototypes.
The next step was to take recycled wood pieces – old crates, bed slats, church benches, etc. – and piece them together to form an upcycled look-a-like. The end results were pretty remarkable.
The guts of the wooden bikes contain a chain driven sprocket connected to a small 250-watt generator. The generator produces energy, which is then sent to a power inverter to produce usable electricity. The electricity is stored in an onboard battery pack or sent directly to whatever is being powered. Each bike is able to produce 100 watts of usable energy.
It only took a small crew of feverishly pedaling students and staff and three bikes to generate enough electricity to power the large-scale projector during a 54-minute screening of a documentary at the film festival.
While these junk-clad wooden bikes contain pretty crude electricity-generating parts and technology, the whole concept of producing clean energy while burning a few calories is something worth exploring. Maybe having to exercise in order to turn your TV on isn’t such a bad idea.