Bloomsburg University has converted a part of its student recreation center into a human power plant.
Now a little workout can go a long way to help power the rec center.
While undergrads work up a sweat inside the Bloomsburg University Student Recreation Center the machines they are on are helping to convert human energy to the kind of energy that can power laptops or lightbulbs.
About a dozen new elliptical machines are generating clean electricity that goes back into the center’s power grid.
“It feels the same, there’s no difference. All the pedaling you’re doing is making energy,” said sophomore Katie Toomey. She added the new machines are a great way to get in shape and get something, namely electricity, out of it. “We’re helping out a little bit, providing energy for this facility. I think it’s a great idea.”
When someone is on the machine, it’s turning kinetic energy into a direct current. A machine turns it into electricity which can be used throughout the rest of the recreation center.
“I use these machines every day. I guess it’s an extra plus,” said senior Devin Allen.
For 45 minutes at a time he works out on the elliptical machine. According to the university, a typical half-hour workout on one machine produces 50 watt hours of electricity. That’s enough to power a laptop for an hour.
“Moving a lot,” Allen added, “so I must be creating a lot of energy.”
While the exercise machines won’t come close to powering the rec center, university officials hope it will be a lesson for students on how to make the future more sustainable.