Sharing energy efficiency education to Northern Nevadan’s is one big thing that Envirolution prides itself on. You can expect us to bring our energy bike to every event we attend. From adults to little kids, everyone seems to love riding the bike and generating power to turn on all the different lights and appliances.
So how does it all work?
In the simplest terms possible, as the rider pedals the bike, they move the back wheel, the back wheel moves a motor, and the motor generates electricity, this electricity to transferred through wires to power a light bulb or an appliance. In energy terms, the chemical energy in your body powers your muscles in your legs to move the pedals which transforms the energy into mechanical. This mechanical energy moving the pedals moves the wheel which moves the generator. The generator transforms the mechanical energy to electrical energy, and through the use of a converter and inverter the direct current (DC) is transformed into alternating current (AC) that we then can use to light a light bulb or power a small appliance.
A Teaching Tool
Our energy bike board (picture 1) allows you to compare different types of light bulbs side by side. The first row has light emitting diodes (LEDs), the second row as compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs), and the third row as two incandescent bulbs and an outlet to plug in small appliances like radios and fans. All of the bulbs that we use are 60 watt equivalent meaning CFLs and LEDs provide the same amount of light of the 60 watt incandescent that we are all familiar with. Through investigation with the energy bike and board, we find that it is easier to power the LEDs and CFLs because they require less power per bulbs. We are also able to light more of them at one time than we can we incandescent bulbs.
But I still have more questions…
Don’t believe us? Or want to try it for yourself? Come try our energy bike at our next community event–sign up for our newsletter so that you’re always in the know. OR you could make your own bicycle generator! There are many styles to choose from, we have rounded up just a few examples:
- Popular Mechanics
- Instructables #1 using a car battery and back wheel
- Instructables #2 using a car battery and belt
- Comparing the different options
And of course bicycle generators are not going to be the silver bullet to all of our energy problems as this article from Low-Tech magazine thoroughly explains. However the bicycle generator does provide a teaching tool for energy transformation and light bulb efficiency. Also, did we mention it’s really fun to ride?