Well, not if the average life expectancy of a US Citizen is only 79!
We are on Day 3 of operating our first bicycle powered turbine. Here's the low down on the three basic parts:
First (From the Manufacturer): Its permanent magnet motor featuring a completely brushless design eliminates the need for maintenance and reduces friction. Specially wound High-Output stator. Super Strong N40 grade Neodymium rare earth magnets are at its core to replace the inefficient electromagnetic field coil. Zero Cogging. It is built using Brand New GM Delco alternator components including Stator Coils, factory balanced shafts and New Rotor Pole Shoes. Replacement bearings and parts will be available for years. Built-in rectifier. (DC output is unregulated) produces 25 Amps into a 12 Volt battery at 2000 RPM. Built to last with new bearings and a baked on clear ceramic finish that will last for years in harsh outdoor environments.
Second: Meager, Humble Man who lasts only a brief period rarely more than a Century and is subject to wind and water erosion, lightning, sharks, Man-Bear-Pig Flu, hijacking, brainwashing, public schooling, Thai hookers, casinos, traffic accidents, cheap booze, and any combination thereof, you name it! Its amazing Man gets anything done at all. But when you dangle something shiny or female or covered in cheese before him and trick him onto a bicycle, which is mounted to a stand, whereupon aforementioned permanent magnet motor's small rubber wheel meets the rear wheel of whatever bicycle one has handy you can achieve something quite useful and productive!
Three: The bicycle was invented in 4 B.C. by a warlock named Frank who was subsequently beheaded by a Mongol named David who claimed the bicycle as his own before sacking Rome, where he ate more pizza than anyone else in History and looked badass on a shiny bicycle which impressed the Fair Ladies of the Kingdom. Anyway, if you want to learn more about bicycles go search the Internet instead of pestering me about these details! However I will mention that our bicycle is a Montague Paratrooper Folding Bike and works well, although street tires would perhaps be quieter and not wear the generator's tire out as fast.
Now onto the good stuff, some hard data!
In testing we've achieved 9 Amps @ 14 Volts or 126 Watts. But it is hard to sustain that pace on the bicycle for long, and over a 10-30 minute period the average output fluctuates between 3 to 7 Amps @ 12 Volts. What we are studying now is how long it takes to fully charge a battery. The deep-cycle "Yellow-Top" batteries we have been using in ARK-B are monsters. Both Jen and I peddled our hearts out to charge them while reaching less than 50% over the course of an hour, switching off in ten minute intervals. It may be better to have a smaller battery bank dedicated to the bicycle from which we can charge various gadgets rather than attempt to directly feed energy into either Arkhaus prototype. As much as we'd love to power the refrigerator with this contraption we must keep our expectations in check.
Lastly, we have been receiving interest from readers who would like to buy a working kit from the Arkhaus Initiative. Good news for you because we now offer complete working kits! Results may vary but if you keep your consumption down, one could easily keep a small shed or shelter lit with LED's, charge a laptop or cell phone using this bicycle generator system as the sole source for electricity. It is simply about finding that balance between your needs and production. Pure economics, science, engineering and cardiovascular exercise joined harmoniously!
If you would like to order a kit, complete with indoor bike stand, metal generator mount and permanent magnet motor wired and ready to be plugged into your own "off-grid" or low-voltage experimental projects just email me: email@example.com with your shipping information and any questions you may have about the kit!
Kits start at $500 plus shipping. Bicycle not included. Some assembly required.
Many new things have been developing here in our humble enclave over the last few weeks! First we adjusted the solar panels from an 8 degree pitch flush with the roof, to 40.5 degree pitch for ideal solar gain in this latitude. This has helped increase the efficiency of our photovoltaic charging system. But the panels, at best, only produce a total of 75 watts. Meanwhile our consumption of electricity here has increased with us camping here regularly now. Charging the laptop, cellphones, mobile wifi hotspot device, not to mention lights and fans have effectively overwhelmed this modest, experimental, independent, renewable, electrical grid.
The Savonius wind turbine has been languishing, our location just not being as well suited for wind power as I had hoped. So borrowing the powerplant from that project, we made a short trip to Lowes, and two or three hours later my Father and I assembled a working bicycle turbine! This is something I have wanted to build for some time now, even before we began construction off the ARK prototypes. I also believe it has potential to be a decent supplemental power source alternative to the solar panels. It works great and I'm in the process of uploading some video of it in action. Maximum power output recorded during tests so far: 8.4 amps @ 14.5 volts or 121.8 watts. Much more electricity pumping with each turn of the pedals than our PV system can produce on its best day. Plus its portable, universally adapts to any bike, relatively quiet, is great exercise with a fantastic motivating incentive! Some good old fashioned positive reinforcement mixed with 21st century free-energy principles. I've personally put in about two hours riding so far, producing approximately 604,800 Joules or 168 Watt-Hours of clean electricity and a cardiovascular workout comparable to a 25+ mile ride.
More updates soon to follow! We are moving ahead with the construction of the interior cabinetry of ARK-A starting with the kitchen. Having the work shop truck, the M109A3, has been indispensible. It is such a luxury having a specific purpose built space for all our tools and hardware, plus all the work bench surface area to build on. Currently we are running the gasoline generator to power the 110V power in the truck, enabling us to run all the power tools, the air compressor, and this laptop as I'm typing this.
Which reminds me we just signed up for Sprint's 3G/4G "Overdrive Mobile Hotspot" so the mighty Internet Gods have shined upon the Arkhaus once again! And should allow us to make more frequent updates to the website!