Author Topic: Any Luck with Bike Generators?  (Read 1405 times)

pstu24

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Any Luck with Bike Generators?
« on: January 03, 2018, 04:24:28 PM »
While the general idea of bicycling is an awesome one (and has been ridden into the ground - so to speak), I saw something recently on converting a bicycle into a power generating device for my own home. During the winter (present) my electric bill may only run $40-$50 per month, but during the warmer months it has easily gone into the $100-150 range and has even hit into the $150-200 per month....

My question is whether anyone has success stories or resources for how to hook up a stationary bike (or even a system for a current mountain bike) to a battery and then be able to use that energy instead of using the grid?

My thoughts are 1) it would be a fun project to get off of the ground 2) I'm going to exercise anyway, so why not benefit by $30-$50 per month or more when most gyms CHARGE you that much and 3) if it works well enough, I could potentially even switch a few more appliances to electric from gas in the long run and save even more myself!

Thanks for the help and information!

frompa

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Re: Any Luck with Bike Generators?
« Reply #1 on: January 03, 2018, 04:45:31 PM »
I read a bit about this a few years ago and decided it wasn't worth pursuit, but technological improvements may change that outcome.  I'll be curious as to what you find.  Good luck.

Optimiser

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Re: Any Luck with Bike Generators?
« Reply #2 on: January 03, 2018, 04:50:31 PM »
An average cyclist is going to put out a couple of hundred watts at most. Lets say they are are an amazing athlete and can do 500 watts for an hour. That is half a kilowatt hour of electricity. Where I live a kilowatt hour is about $.12. Assuming you could capture 100% of that energy and you did an hour of intense cycling every day you would save $1.80/month (.06 x 30).

Cycling is a great way to get around because bikes are efficient compared to walking or driving, but your body just isn't capable of generating the energy possible to make a meaningful reduction in your utility bill (especially if you consider the extra food you'd need to eat).

Syonyk

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Re: Any Luck with Bike Generators?
« Reply #3 on: January 03, 2018, 05:02:37 PM »
My question is whether anyone has success stories or resources for how to hook up a stationary bike (or even a system for a current mountain bike) to a battery and then be able to use that energy instead of using the grid?

You can do it, but the energy generated turns out to be minimal, and you'll never even save enough energy to pay for the battery with a system like that.

Quote
My thoughts are 1) it would be a fun project to get off of the ground 2) I'm going to exercise anyway, so why not benefit by $30-$50 per month or more when most gyms CHARGE you that much and 3) if it works well enough, I could potentially even switch a few more appliances to electric from gas in the long run and save even more myself!

$30 at $0.12/kWh power is 250kWh.

A typical human can maintain 100W output for reasonable periods of time.  So to generate 250kWh, it's a mere 2500 hours of pedaling.  Which is a problem with only 700-someodd hours in a month.

An olympic cyclist can power a toaster, for a short burst, but is pretty well wiped by the end and generates a tiny fraction of a kWh.

So... this is not a project that has any possibility of financial upside.

FiveSigmas

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Re: Any Luck with Bike Generators?
« Reply #4 on: January 03, 2018, 05:30:56 PM »
What Syonyk said. If you haven't seen this, it's pretty entertaining:

https://youtu.be/S4O5voOCqAQ

Just Joe

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Re: Any Luck with Bike Generators?
« Reply #5 on: January 04, 2018, 08:35:19 AM »
Put out a few solar panels (inverter, batteries, etc) or a small wind generator. Turn off some things. Switch to LED lighting. Smaller fridge. Eat out less. Drive less.

They are likely other better ways to save money.

We built one of these bike generators in college for a project. As I recall it made 150W tops and the rider was working her tail off.

http://www.backwoodssolar.com

I have no connection to these guys but they have a pretty good website for learning.