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posted by hubie on Sunday December 10, @09:32AM   Printer-friendly

Low-tech Magazine has built a bicycle generator for a public exhibition on energy at the Pavillon d'Arsenal in Paris, France. Their two other bike generators can be seen and experimented with in Rotterdam, Netherlands and Barcelona, Spain.

In October, we built a third energy bicycle during a workshop at the House of the Future in Rotterdam. This bicycle generator is now used as an energy source in the community center. The House of the Future is open to the public, for details see their website and instagram.

In a future article, we will cover the construction process and technical details of these two new muscular power plants. These machines are based on spinning bikes and are more powerful than the first bike generator we built.

With electricity prices continually hitting new record highs, maybe the market is the EU?

[The Toaster Challenge can help put this energy-generation idea into perspective. --hubie]


Original Submission

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Paris Votes to Triple Parking Fees for SUVs 34 comments

The majority residents of Paris have voted in favor of heavy parking fees for suburban utility vehicles over 1.6 tons or more. These new fees rise to €18 an hour in the city center, with lower rates further out. The goals are to improve air quality, road safety, and provide for better commuting by bicycle.

Starting September 1st, gas or hybrid SUVs, and other larger vehicles weighing over 1.6 tonnes (1.76 tons), will be charged €18 (around $19.40) per hour to park in the center of Paris, and €12 (around $12.90) per hour in the rest of the city. The new pricing also applies to electric vehicles weighing over two tonnes (2.20 tons). Exemptions are in place for taxis and city residents, which means those traveling into Paris from outside the city will be most impacted. According to one of the posters for the referendum, only three in 10 Parisians even own a personal vehicle.

[...] Under Hidalgo, a Socialist, the streets of Paris have been transformed with 84 kilometers (52 miles) of cycle lanes created since 2020 and a 71% jump in bike usage between the end of the COVID-19 lockdowns and 2023, according to City Hall.

[...] SUVs have become increasingly popular in France, favored by families in particular.

The Verge: Paris votes to crack down on SUVs

Previously:
(2023) Test Bike Generators in Paris, Rotterdam, and Barcelona
(2023) Parisians Say Au Revoir to Shared E-scooters


Original Submission

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  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by looorg on Sunday December 10, @01:29PM (11 children)

    by looorg (578) on Sunday December 10, @01:29PM (#1336017)

    It could have been interesting, and educational, if they had some little chart that showed how long you would have to pedal for to charge common items -- like how long do you have to be on the bike to charge your phone or have the lights on etc.

    The best I can find in the article was a few layers down about building a bike powered air compressor but that is still somewhat lacking in how long it actually takes to fill the air tank.

    • (Score: 5, Informative) by pTamok on Sunday December 10, @02:27PM (4 children)

      by pTamok (3042) on Sunday December 10, @02:27PM (#1336019)

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bicycle_performance#Energy_output [wikipedia.org]

      How much power humans can generate and for how long varies with physical form. The specific power may be expressed in watts per kilogram of body mass. Active humans can produce 1.5 W/kg (untrained), 3.0 W/kg (fit), and 6.6 W/kg (top-class male athletes). 5 W/kg is about the level reachable by the highest tier of male amateurs for longer periods.[8] Maximum sustained power levels during one hour range from about 200 W (NASA experimental group of "healthy men") to 500 W (men's world hour record).[9]

      On that basis, you can probably use 200 Watts per hour as an approximation.

      IPhone batteries vary from about 4.25 Watt hour to 17.1 Watt Hour capacities. ( https://www.macworld.com/article/678413/iphone-battery-capacities-compared-all-iphones-battery-life-in-mah-and-wh.html [macworld.com] ), so assuming no losses (which is implausible), it's take between 5 and 10 minutes to generate enough power to charge an iPhone fully.

      A laptop PC has a battery capacity of 'about' 50 Watt-hours. That's 15 minutes of cycling, again, assuming no losses.

      This calculator

      https://www.omnicalculator.com/physics/water-heating [omnicalculator.com]

      tells me that at 100% efficiently, 200Watts will boil a quarter of a litre of water (enough for a cup of tea) in 7 minutes,

      A 'typical' PC and monitor will probably add up to 200 Watts power draw on their own. You would need to pedal continuously while working. As for gaming, you'd need several people pedalling to allow you to run a semi-decent graphics card and powerful PC.

      • (Score: 3, Informative) by captain normal on Sunday December 10, @09:49PM (3 children)

        by captain normal (2205) on Sunday December 10, @09:49PM (#1336056)

        A 24" LED monitor uses less than 30 watts. You'd have be driving a pretty big monitor to suck up 200 watts. The typical laptop uses far less than 30 watts.

        --
        Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not to his own facts"- --Daniel Patrick Moynihan--
        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 10, @10:06PM (1 child)

          by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 10, @10:06PM (#1336057)

          And one litre is a damn big cup of tea.

        • (Score: 1) by pTamok on Monday December 11, @07:38AM

          by pTamok (3042) on Monday December 11, @07:38AM (#1336094)

          A 'typical' laptop PC, yes: but a 'typical desktop PC has a higher power draw. I didn't make myself clear.

    • (Score: 5, Informative) by JoeMerchant on Sunday December 10, @04:32PM (5 children)

      by JoeMerchant (3937) on Sunday December 10, @04:32PM (#1336025)

      It's not just how long but also how hard you pedal.

      My Physics 101 prof brought in a couple of generator bikes to demonstrate in 1985. They had variable loads 0, 25, 50 and 100 watts IIRC. Switch on a light and add load, 3 lights, max output with all on: 175W.

      I biked to class and all over town at the time, I biked 50 miles a day for weeks and a time a couple of summers later without any special preparation or training, in other words I was 18 years old and in reasonable shape.

      25W output was sustainable, but tiring for me, I probably couldn't maintain that output for more than an hour. 50W was hard, and I could only maintain the 175W output for maybe a minute.

      I may be mis-remembering the load levels, or maybe there was a significant inefficiency in the generator system, it seems like even today I could output roughly what my 250W rated eBike motor outputs for a minute or two, but regardless, 1000W is out of the question for a reasonable human powered generator to sustain for any length of time. Better to put 2 or 3 standard solar panels on the roof.

      --
      🌻🌻 [google.com]
      • (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 10, @05:08PM (3 children)

        by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 10, @05:08PM (#1336031)

        That Toaster Challenge link shows what you're talking about where a Olympic-class cyclist was powering a 700W toaster.

        • (Score: 4, Touché) by JoeMerchant on Monday December 11, @12:47AM

          by JoeMerchant (3937) on Monday December 11, @12:47AM (#1336064)

          Seems like the toaster challenge setup had the same problem I complained about with the generator bike in physics class, gearing was too low - making you pedal too slowly for optimal power output. It's still hard, but when it bogs down like that it's even a bit harder. Robert might have made it to medium brown on the toast with more rider friendly gearing.

          --
          🌻🌻 [google.com]
        • (Score: 3, Funny) by ElizabethGreene on Monday December 11, @01:23AM (1 child)

          by ElizabethGreene (6748) Subscriber Badge on Monday December 11, @01:23AM (#1336065) Journal

          Special thanks to whoever posted that, BTW. That is an impeccably beautiful man.

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 11, @02:43AM

            by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 11, @02:43AM (#1336069)

            Here's one of the best sprinters and kilo riders to come out of USA, https://www.renehersecycles.com/people-who-inspire-us-nelson-vails/ [renehersecycles.com]
            They all have enormous legs. When I saw Vails at a velodrome I was still a skinny kid...and his legs had about the same circumference as my waist.

      • (Score: 3, Informative) by pTamok on Sunday December 10, @05:43PM

        by pTamok (3042) on Sunday December 10, @05:43PM (#1336034)

        I've always understood (perhaps incorrectly) that peak output power for a human is about one horsepower, which is 735.5 Watts, You can't sustain that for long.

        Wikipedia gives the following (cited) tidbit: "Over an 8-hour work shift, an average, healthy, well-fed and motivated manual laborer may sustain an output of around 75 watts of power." ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_power#Available_power [wikipedia.org] ) , and if you figure that as the input to an electrical generator or mechanical device, which will be less than 100% efficient, the actual usable power will be less.

        The BBC had a program where they powered a pretty standard house by using teams of volunteers on bicycle generators, adding more people as the demand went up ('Bang Goes The Theory: Human Power Station' [road.cc]). They didn't manage to meet the demand.

  • (Score: 4, Interesting) by quietus on Sunday December 10, @04:29PM (2 children)

    by quietus (6328) on Sunday December 10, @04:29PM (#1336024) Journal

    With electricity prices continually hitting new record highs, maybe the market is the EU?

    Here's some recent data [www.creg.be] -- the first graph shows the cost of electricity for households in Belgium, France, Germany, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. (The second graph shows the same info, but this time including VAT.)

    Just taking the German data, 3,500 kWh -- a normal usage for a household, per year -- cost €1500 in November 2022; for the same amount of electricity usage you'd be paying around €600 in November 2023. This evolution is also to be seen in the Dutch and Belgian prices.

    The UK and France show different trajectories: French prices have edged up slightly, but remain the lowest in this group of European countries, while UK prices only show a moderate decrease.

    The prices given are prices on the open market (commercial prices), and do not take into account subsidies and the like (social tariffs) for households. As an example, for Belgium, social tariffs amounted to minus €392 for the last months of 2022, and minus €588 for the first months of 2023 up to March.

    • (Score: 3, Interesting) by JoeMerchant on Sunday December 10, @04:39PM (1 child)

      by JoeMerchant (3937) on Sunday December 10, @04:39PM (#1336027)

      So, a highly trained athletic human powering 125w of bike generation 8 hours a day can supply 1kWh per day, get ten of these people riding in shifts and you might power one typical house GF erman house and reduce your power bill by €150 per year per rider

      Do you think you could feed them sufficient calories for €0.41 per day?

      --
      🌻🌻 [google.com]
      • (Score: 3, Funny) by Opportunist on Sunday December 10, @05:38PM

        by Opportunist (5545) on Sunday December 10, @05:38PM (#1336033)

        Hmm.... the prices for sunflower oil are way, way up since the war... maybe lard could be used?

  • (Score: 1, Touché) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 10, @04:58PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 10, @04:58PM (#1336029)
  • (Score: 3, Funny) by Opportunist on Sunday December 10, @05:35PM (4 children)

    by Opportunist (5545) on Sunday December 10, @05:35PM (#1336032)

    We solve our energy problems and the incoming unemployment problems at the same time.

    • (Score: 2) by turgid on Monday December 11, @09:03AM (1 child)

      by turgid (4318) Subscriber Badge on Monday December 11, @09:03AM (#1336098) Journal

      Don't give them ideas.

      • (Score: 2) by Opportunist on Monday December 11, @12:24PM

        by Opportunist (5545) on Monday December 11, @12:24PM (#1336107)

        You really think they depend on me for that?

    • (Score: 2) by maxwell demon on Monday December 11, @05:32PM (1 child)

      by maxwell demon (1608) on Monday December 11, @05:32PM (#1336140) Journal

      They'll find a way to make people pay for the "privilege" of generating power for them. Paying the people? How quaint. :-)

      --
      The Tao of math: The numbers you can count are not the real numbers.
      • (Score: 2) by Opportunist on Tuesday December 12, @12:12AM

        by Opportunist (5545) on Tuesday December 12, @12:12AM (#1336191)

        Who said anything about paying anyone?

        I promised jobs. Not wages.

  • (Score: 2, Informative) by pTamok on Sunday December 10, @05:55PM

    by pTamok (3042) on Sunday December 10, @05:55PM (#1336035)
  • (Score: 2, Insightful) by khallow on Sunday December 10, @08:01PM (1 child)

    by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Sunday December 10, @08:01PM (#1336043) Journal
    Human generated electricity is insane. There are a few applications out there, like say an off-the-grid place that needs small amounts of electricity once in a while. I recall a covert observation post [wikipedia.org] in Second World War Gibraltar that used a bike to generate power for the radio. But for the most part, it takes more electricity and other energy to feed the person than you get out. More efficient to just run a line over.

    If they really want to lower the price of electricity (and I'm not sure the policy makers do), more nuclear power and more natural gas wells.
    • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 11, @02:54AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 11, @02:54AM (#1336071)

      > Human generated electricity is insane.
      Human generated electricity is instructive.

      ftfy

      It helps people understand what Bucky Fuller meant when he talked about "energy slaves":
        - In antiquity, rich people had actual human slaves (and animals) to provide the power for their "high energy" life style.
        - Now, anyone that can afford a car can use a small motion of their throttle foot to control the same order of magnitude of power as could be produced by a regiment (~800) of soldiers (or slaves). When it comes to energy use, we really do live like kings, or better.

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