Why We Mine Coal and Uranium

The idea is simple. Recharge the Fireball’s batteries in the boondocks using pedal-power. We already have the bicycles. We have food. Just put that bicycle on a generator, put the food in the top and take the electricity out the bottom.

So we tried it. Turns out though that humans are pitiable as power sources. The best we could do is about 65 watts into the battery in short (forgive the electrical pun) bursts, maybe 50 watts for an hour, 35 watts for long periods. So we got bicycles, a generator, and food — what we don’t have is time. We’d have to crank all day to replace our amp-hour usage. Or get some help?

Beer powered human generator

Beer powered pedal power plant

Why is this? Turns out that a pedaled generator is only 40% efficient at best. Those that know tell us that a well-conditioned bicycle ‘enthusiast’ can put out about 125 watts continuously and on a good bicycle with hard tires most of that actually gets to the road. Two centuries of bicycle design refinement see to that. But from our generator, 50 watts is the best we can hope for.

We’ll experiment some more, but it won’t replace our solar panel — which actually likes to lay around in the sun all day and puts out as much juice as we can.

Not your typical boondocking solar panel

Not your typical boondocking solar panel

2 thoughts on “Why We Mine Coal and Uranium

  1. So, John…..are you saying that I don’t have to worry about spending my retirement years hooked up to the power meter? (I’m still in favor of trying to hook up a blender though, and going to the Farmer’s Market with a Blend Your Own Smoothie gig). Thanks for letting me off the hook. Judy

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