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Power to the people: UW-Eau Claire puts out bids for personal energy generating system

By Ann Knoedler

Energy Generating System using Star Trac Pro Fitness Bikes for the University of Wisconsin Recreation and Sports Facilities, McPhee Physical Fitness Center, Room 111, 509/503 University Drive, Eau Claire

If all goes as planned, the students at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire won’t just be spinning their wheels.

The UW-Eau Claire Department of Recreation and Sports Facilities issued a request for bids for a project that will install an energy generating system into 22 existing Star Trac Pro Spinner bikes in Room 111 of the McPhee Physical Education Center.

Bids are due Monday.

The energy generated when the exercise bikes are in use will be put back into the building’s power grid.

Think of the possibilities if public and private fitness centers throughout the country were to install these energy generating systems on their exercise bikes and treadmills. With the popularity of exercising and cardio workouts, there would be a reliable supply of labor to create the energy.

A quick Google search reveals how this concept is being used in other places. For instance, the Crowne Hotel in Copenhagen is offering free meal vouchers to customers who bike long enough to generate 10-watt hours of electricity on the hotel generator bikes — this is normally achieved under a half-hour.

And why limit it to people? A farmer in Northern Ireland created an energy generating treadmill for cows.

In the greater scheme of things, this UW-Eau Claire project seems like a small step in the quest to achieve energy self-sufficiency. But it’s important to continue to make progress in this area so that Wisconsin isn’t left behind.

After all, the state motto is “Forward.”

Ann Knoedler is the lead data reporter at The Daily Reporter. She wrote this blog while powering her own computer … with coffee.

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