Electricity Generating Bicycles – Make Electricity and Burn Fat!

/ / Green Building Consulting
electricity generating bicycles

What if you could create electricity while you worked out? Well, it turns out you can.

The following article about electricity generating bicycles was written by Warren Neilson

Humans convert food energy (measured in calories) into chemical energy that is used by moving muscles. The body is about 20% efficient meaning that only 20% of the food energy is turned into available chemical energy. The rest is lost as heat which keeps our body temperature around 98 degrees (37 C). Utilizing technology to convert calories into electricity is something more and more exercise enthusiasts are asking for. Is the world ready for electricity generating bicycles?

Healthy Building Science was recently asked to advise on the best electricity producing exercise equipment for a home gym. Given this exciting task, we dove straight in to investigate the pros and cons to each product currently being sold on the U.S. market.

Integrated equipment vs. modified equipment

There are quite a few options out there and deciding between a fully integrated piece of equipment vs a modified unit is probably the first step in determining which setup might work best for you. By integrated equipment, I am referring to an exercise equipment setup that is purchased off the shelf with the ability to convert kinetic energy directly into electricity to power your TV, for example. A modified piece of equipment typically means taking your existing exercise equipment and modifying/retrofitting it to generate electricity. Both technologies allow you to generate power while exercising it is really just a matter of whether you want to keep using equipment you already have or purchase new equipment. The big take-home is that you have the option!

How much power will electricity generating bicycles produce?

Did you know a person in decent shape could produce electricity at rates of 50 to 120 watts during an hour of strenuous exercise? It is estimated that an elite cyclist can average 300-400! If a person averages 75 watts (about one-tenth of a horsepower) for an hour they will have produced 75 watt hours (Wh) of energy. A watt hour of human power output consumes roughly four calories of food energy. So, if you are exercising at a rate of 100 watts and you exercise for an hour (100 watt hours) you will burn 400 calories on an electricity generating bicycle.

After researching all the options here are our top 4 (in no particular order). Hop on one of these bad boys and you will likely be able to run your LCD TV, some Compact Fluorescent (CFL) lighting and possibly the stereo. I quite like the idea of earning your TV time!

Plug Out

Using PlugOut’s integrated equipment, the electricity generated is sent directly to the grid by simply plugging the standard three prong power that is included with the unit directly into a standard outlet.

Human Dynamo

An integrated piece of equipment with a unique setup, the generator used for the Dynamo is about 70% efficient so the actual electrical power out is 30% lower than the person’s output. Additionally, this piece of equipment can generate upwards of 200watts during use thanks it ability to utilize your arms and legs during the workout. Human Dynamo

Green Revolution

The Green Revolution modified system is designed to retrofit exercise bikes to be able to generate electricity from their use. Green Revolution has even updated and entire gym in Connecticut where all the exercise bikes have been converted to utilize this technology of electricity generating bicycles.


ReRev estimates that a 30 minute work out can generate at least 50watts of energy. ReRev’s technology is used to modify existing equipment to generate electricity. ReRev in particular has gained a lot of press recently for its electricity generating bicycles technology. ReRev