One of the cute stories to emerge from the recent Earth Hour event involves a concert that Melbourne, Australia threw for about 8,000 of its citizens that night, which drew its power from a human source.
The Future Spark project garnered 130 teams of corporate workers to pedal stationary bikes on board on a fold-out trailer. The energy they generated from their riding was feed back into the grid to offset the estimated power consumption of the Earth Hour concert, which was around 45 kWh. The project created the human powered energy equivalent of this amount, and much more besides.The cycling teams pumped in 53,259 watt hours, while solar photovoltaic panels on top the trailer contributed another 14,211 watt hours yielding a total 67,470 watt-hours of generated renewable energy.
What's equally remarkable is the effort required to approximate the energy density of our fast depleting oil reserves. It was calculated by one of the cyclists that " one hour spent pedalling four bicycles generates about as much energy as is stored in just three tablespoons of petrol (gasoline)!"
Kinda puts Peak Oil and Climate Change into a human perspective. We don't currently have access to any energy source that has such a concentration of energy as found in fossil fuels stores of ancient sunlight, be they oil, coal or gas. Yet for the future wellbeing of the planet we need to use less of these resources, even before they run out. Cycling remains the most efficient human-powered energy we have, but even it is daunted by the challenge ahead.
The Future Spark project was the brain-child of ideas*, a business and technology consulting firm, who worked with Earth Hour organisers WWF to materialise their passions of collaboration, sustainability and loud music.
Image Credits: Future Spark