Many of us have been to the gym and wondered why the exercise equipment isn’t hooked up to generate electricity and feed it back into the grid. At long last a company in Florida called ReRev has answered our calls, converting existing elliptical machines into sources of power. Now when you hit the gym, you can burn off those calories while creating some renewable energy for a carbon negative workout.
When you work out on standard exercise equipment in the gym, all of the kinetic energy you generate is completely wasted on the machine. It’s certainly not a new idea to transform that kinetic energy into electrical energy, but up until recently nothing was commercially available. ReRev’s system easily converts existing equipment into power generating machines, so when you step on and start moving, most of your energy generates DC power. The DC power is then sent to an AC converter and then sent to the grid.
With a ReRev system a 30 minute workout on an elliptical cross-trainer will generate around 50 Watts of power, which is enough to power a CFL bulb for 2.5 hrs, to charge a cell phone 6 times, to run a laptop for 1 hour, or a desktop for 30 minutes. When you add up all the people coming into the gym throughout the day and using these machines, you could produce some serious power!
So far ReRev has installed the conversions in around 180 machines around the country in university athletic centers and gyms. Next in line to get the human-powered machines is Furman University, whose Senior class is currently raising funds to get 15 installed at their Athletic Center. Recently, energy generated by a set of elliptical machines at the University of Kansas powered the basketball court during a game!
Lead photo by YMCATwinCities