Power Generation In Gyms By Utilizing Human Mechanical Energy

Essay, 2015
4 Pages

Free online reading

Abstract— Usage of energy throughout the world continues to rise, therefore a strong need arises to develop new methods for conversion of energy and generation of power, particularly which have less environmental impacts. In regions where electric power is neither available nor affordable, human power generation has promising application areas. There is potential for harnessing untapped human power at most fitness facilities (Gyms). The main focus of this paper is on the feasibility of seizing this energy at fitness facilities (gyms) and also discuss its social benefits.


There are many concerns on how to make this environment a better place to live. Biggest issue of them all is our energy and power sources. The term used for sources of energy that are environmentally friendly is green energy. Primarily, this includes any source of renewable energy. Renewable energy is the energy that is regularly being replaced such as wood, vegetable matter, and trash. The main focus of green energy is to use sources that cut down on pollution. In many countries you can arrange to buy green electricity. There is higher cost involved in this option. Although this looks really easy a lot of people are suspicious about these sources of renewable energy. It is clear that improving energy efficiency becomes a pivotal objective for organizations that seek to sustain in highly competitive environment.

Electricity consumption in the world is rapidly growing. The Energy Information Administration (EIA) predicts that electricity consumption will reach 24.7 trillion kilowatt- hours by 2025. Coal has long been the primary source of energy generation, averaging 50% of total sources. However, it can be extremely detrimental to the health of the environment and human population [1,2].

A place where maximum energy conversions take place is, the Gym. If at all we can tap into this large pool of energy we will be able to produce electricity enough to sustain that individual gym in-turn saving energy. Gyms, majority have large amounts of bicycles and treadmills. These are used virtually every hour the gym is open, so probably 8-12 hours a day. The amount of energy created by people using them is just wasted because they are all stand­alone pieces of gym equipment. What if there was a way to connect them all to create power? Just like a dynamo on bicycles that power the lights just from pedaling. It could generate quite a lot of power which could be used by the gym for other uses. It could save them a lot of money on electricity, which means they won’t be using as much, which means the environment benefits too.

illustration not visible in this excerpt

People just have to work out in order to go green, when using green fitness equipment. An exercise routine of 30 minutes will generate 50 watts of energy which is enough to charge an iPhone six times. People are resistant to changing their lifestyles when it comes to combat climate change. But when You take what people do as part of their daily routine and alter it to make it green, voila, the change is done for them. The kinetic energy from the workout is converted into usable, carbon-free energy which can be used to power the entire fitness center. Considering the extent of energy that is used to power a typical gym this is especially effective (the machines, televisions, air-conditioners, etc.).[3]

Energy Usage Breakdown

illustration not visible in this excerpt



There are different types of gym equipment free weights, multi machines and machines. Free weights include barbells and dumbbells. Along with the different weight plates and rods. The multi machines include pulley operated machines and machines include treadmills and bicycles. The energy from pulley operated machines (also treadmills and bicycles) can be taped by attaching a dynamo to the pulley. Let’s see how to fit the Machines with the dynamo.

III. Fitting gym equipment with dynamo

The pulley is a tight fit on the tip of the armature shaft, in most dynamos. It is secured by a nut and kept in place by a movable metal key between pulley and shaft.

The shaft might be tapered or lateral and is slotted to take half the key. In order to take the other half the hole in the center of the pulley is also slotted. That type of locating device is called a Woodruff key. The shape is like a shallow half­moon and is about 5 mm thick. The pulley nut is usually very tight and is recessed into the pulley. Use a ring spanner or socket to free it. If the dynamo is still on, free the nut before removing the fan belt. The fan belt helps to hold the pulley steady against the spanner. If you fail to move the nut, remove the dynamo from and dismantle it. Clamp the armature in a vice, using pieces of wood or some other form of packing in the vice jaws to protect it. They should hold it strongly enough for you to free the nut .Do not lose the Woodruff key.

A. Replacing the pulley

Tap the Woodruff key well into its slot (before refitting the pulley) with the front end slightly lower than the back, so that it easily engages with the slot in the pulley hole Any sort of burrs while tapping into it will stop the pulley from fitting over the key. It is a better to clean the sides of the key with a file before tapping it in, which will ensure that there are no burrs. Now line up the slot in the pulley with the Woodruff key in the shaft and then push the pulley home on the shaft. Generally it will be forced fully home as you tighten the pulley nut; however, it may be essential to tap the pulley on to the shaft with a soft-faced hammer far enough to start the pulley nut. Few dynamos may have a spacer or shim in-between the pulley and front plate: remember to replace it. After refitting the dynamo, check that the pulley is in alignment with the fan and crankshaft pulleys. Sometimes the dynamo gets mounted on the wrong side of the pivot bracket: its pulley could be out of line with the others, if it is put on the wrong way.

There are also chances of spacer washers in- between bracket and dynamo. These, also, must be replaced in their original positions, or the pulley will be out of line.

B. Removing a pulley with the dynamo out.

Undo the pulley nut just by a few threads, then, holding the armature in one hand, tap the nut with a soft-faced hammer to push the shaft out of the pulley. If this fails, reassemble the dynamo, so that the front cover is reinforced, and it can be gripped in a vice and then remove the nut. To prise of pulley, insert two screwdrivers in- between the front plate and the back of the pulley. Gently push the pulley up at the center not the rim, in which case the pulley could be damaged. If this method fails a pulling tool has to be used, taking care not to damage the pulley.


Given that retrofitting the elliptical machines at an average Gym can result in approximately harnessing 10,000 kWh per year, which is based on the assumptions energy consumption of the facility of 1.45 million kWh, the energy harnessed amounts to 7% of the energy consumed. Therefore the cost of retrofitting 28 elliptical machines only encompasses the amount needed to procure additional parts to develop the machines into energy harnessing devices. For the reason that the facility pays a comparably low cost for electricity, varying from Rs.5.3 to Rs.6.5 per kWh, the energy harnessed would amount to about Rs.60,000 in yearly savings. Approximating the cost of retrofitting the machines to be RS.12, 50, 000, it would take 20 years for the installation to financially pay off. However, the average cardiovascular machine at the facility is alternated every 5-7 years, which would mean the retrofitted machines would be in retirement before that has been money saved from their harnessed energy could ameliorate the cost of their retrofit. Thus, from a strictly economic point of view, retrofitting these exercise machines does not suggest to be economically sustainable unless we could reapply the retrofitted hardware to the new machines. Moreover, taking into account a discounted rate of 10%, the true financial reimbursement time would be well over 30 years. However, this analysis did not take into account the inflation rate of energy, which, when taken into account, would lower the payback time of the retrofit.

[Table I summarizes the points discussed in the above paragraph]

illustration not visible in this excerpt


Economic study of the retrofit further details that, the present value of the total savings from the retrofit after 5 years would be approximately Rs. 2,40,000. Hence, the actual cost of fitting these machines (current value cost minus the current value of total savings after 5 years) would be about Rs. 10,10,000. [Table II summarizes the points discussed in this paragraph

illustration not visible in this excerpt



While from a financial point of view this installation does not seem like a viable option, there are many social benefits to invest in a human power generation center at gyms. Intrinsic motivation can result in more power generation for longer periods of time [2]. Many of the recreational facilities that have retrofitted exercise equipment to harness human Power have claimed to do so not for economic interest but for Social ones. Educating members about the "greener" machines in the gym could potentially lead to more feasible exercise choices, such as exercising on a machine that uses less energy or no energy at all rather than running on a treadmill.


This paper describes the technical feasibility and social benefits of human power generation technology at gyms. It seems that the next stride in being a sustainable facility is to invest in alternative energy sources readily available. One of many such sources is human power. The elliptical machines are best suited to be fitted into energy harnessing devices due to their mechanical contour.

After considering a cost-benefit study on the investment of retrofitting by assuming 28 machines, it was found that the energy harnessed from the machines would pay off the cost of investment in 20 years, not an economically reasonable amount of time given that machines such as ellipticals are generally retired after 5-7 years. However, a CO2 study of the installation reveals that the CO2 emissions used to retrofit the machines could be salvaged by the energy they harness in less than 3 years. The social implications of modernizing the machines are pressing reasons to pursue the installation.


[1] Hutchison, F. H., 2007 “Facts About Electricity,” Clean- Energy.us: News and Facts about Coal Gasification. <http://www.clean- energy.us/facts/electricity.htm>.
[2] “Electricity Consumption (most recent) by country,” NationMaster.com: World Statistics, Country Comparisons. <http://www.nationmaster.com/graph/ene ele con- energy- electricity-consumption> compiled based on data from “The World Fact Book,” Central Intelligence Agency, December 2003-2008.
[3] "Converting kinetic energy in college gyms around the country into usable, carbon-free energy" Dana, < http://www.planetforward.org/idea/con verting-kinetic-energy-in-college-gyms- around-the-country-into-usable-carbon- free-energy>

VIII. About the Author

Dheeraj Kumar Suvarna. Author was born in Mangalore, India, in 1993. He received the B.E. degree in Computer Science and engineering from the Nitte Mahalinga Adhyanta Memorial Institute of Technology (Autonomous) , Nitte, in 2015.From 2015 to present, he is working as a Java Technical Consultant with the Hewlett Packard Enterprise. His research interests include Visual Optics,Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, and Quantum Informatics.

4 of 4 pages


Power Generation In Gyms By Utilizing Human Mechanical Energy
Computer Science and Technology
Catalog Number
File size
582 KB
Mechanical Energy, power generation
Quote paper
Er Dheeraj Kumar (Author), 2015, Power Generation In Gyms By Utilizing Human Mechanical Energy, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/342321


  • No comments yet.
Read the ebook
Title: Power Generation In Gyms By Utilizing Human Mechanical Energy

Upload papers

Your term paper / thesis:

- Publication as eBook and book
- High royalties for the sales
- Completely free - with ISBN
- It only takes five minutes
- Every paper finds readers

Publish now - it's free