Eco Factor: Exercise machines at the University of Oregon generate electricity.

We’ve seen some ingenious ways to generate electricity in the past and using exercise machines as electricity generators is one way which is gaining popularity in recent years. University of Oregon is the latest to witness the change where workout sweat is being converted into useful watts.

The school has retrofitted 20 Precor elliptical exercise machines to generate electricity using technology from ReRev. The energy from these 20 machines installed in the Student Recreation Center is converted from DC to AC before being transferred into the grid. The system looks great, but the University states that the amount of electricity produced is so small that about 3,000 people a day pedaling on 20 machines would generate enough electricity to power a single house and it would take about 28 years to recoup the investment.

Though the output is considerably small, but a person pedaling 30 minutes would generate enough energy to run a laptop for an hour. However, if not completely making a house power using off-grid electricity, the system can be used to keep some gadgets off-grid, or can be coupled with other renewable energy systems such as solar panels or a wind turbine. ReRev states that if the exercise machines in all 30,000 health clubs in the U.S. are retrofitted it could take about 30,000 houses off the grid.

Via: AP