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The DOE Science News Source is a Newswise initiative to promote research news from the Office of Science of the DOE to the public and news media.
  • 2011-06-28 12:00:00
  • Article ID: 578221

Turning Sweat into Watts

Walk into a gym and you'll see exercise machines that plug into a wall outlet and run off electrical power. They have displays with flashing lights and use electricity to power internal systems that provide resistance, so you can vary the difficulty of your workout. But today, dozens of gyms are adopting a new kind of exercise machine. The equipment may look much the same, but they're actually different in a major way. Rather than consuming power, they're generating electricity as people sweat, feeding it to the electrical grid and offsetting some of the gym's energy use.

By adopting power-producing exercise machines in this way, gyms can promote themselves as environmentally friendly and also reduce their electric bills. At least three start-ups in the United States are now selling equipment to retrofit aerobic machines--stationary bicycles, elliptical trainers, and steppers--into electricity-generating gear. These companies have already converted several hundred machines at U.S. health clubs and university gyms.

But does the technology make sense? Each machine generates a small amount of electricity, and the costs of converting the equipment are steep. In the July issue's "Turning Sweat into Watts," IEEE Spectrum discusses the benefits and challenges of electricity-producing exercise equipment, dissecting the economics behind the technology and, as a thought exercise, estimating how many gym-goers it would take to power a home or the entire United States.

Contact: Erico Guizzo, 212-419-7581, e.guizzo@ieee.org

For a faxed copy of the article ("Turning Sweat into Watts," by Tom Gibson, IEEE Spectrum, July 2011) or to arrange an interview, contact: Nancy T. Hantman, 212-419-7561, n.hantman@ieee.org.

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Jefferson Lab Scientist Selected to Receive Francis Slack Award

Dr. Hari Areti, has been selected to receive the Francis G. Slack Award, established by the Southeastern Section of the American Physical Society, to honor excellence in service to Physics in the Southeastern U.S.

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CANDLE Shines in 2017 HPCwire Readers' and Editors' Choice Awards

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SLAC's Helen Quinn Honored with 2018 Benjamin Franklin Medal in Physics

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PPPL Honors Grierson and Greenough for Distinguished Research and Engineering Achievements

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The Challenge of Estimating Alaska's Soil Carbon Stocks

A geospatial analysis determined the optimal distribution of sites needed to reliably estimate Alaska's vast soil carbon.

Unplugging the Cellulose Biofuel Bottleneck

Molecular-level understanding of cellulose structure reveals why it resists degradation and could lead to cost-effective biofuels.

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Scientists use heat and mismatched surfaces to stretch films that can potentially improve the efficient operation of devices.

Simple is Beautiful in Quantum Computing

Defect spins in diamond were controlled with a simpler, geometric method, leading to faster computing.

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