School project is a powerful idea

June 2, 2009 4:15:41 PM PDT
The search for alternative sources of energy is not confined to the corporate world. College students are certainly engaged in that hunt and some local undergraduates have figured out how to tap into people power.It's not your typical stationary bike and while it may appear to be blue in color, it's actually green.

"It's a bicycle powered generator," said Evangelia Smith who helped design the bike.

This generator was designed by three students at Devry University here in Houston.

"We wanted to go green with this project," said Kadhir Alvarado who also helped design the bike.

Their senior project is a bicycle hooked up to a generator, connected to a voltage regulator, a capacitor, and another regulator that converts the power from direct current to alternating current just like you have at home.

"You get the same outcome as like you plug into an outlet," Alvarado explained. "As long as you keep peddling."

In fact the students say if you strung enough of the bikes together and added batteries you could probably power an entire fitness club.

"I think it could be used anywhere," Smith said. "Cause you just hook the generator to it. If you get a bigger generator it could power something much larger."

"If we were to have a battery hooked up it would store the electricity for longer periods of time," Alvarado said.

It took the students six weeks to design and build the People Powered Generator. They had to find just the right equipment to interact in the right way.

"This is the first thing that I've designed so I am proud of it," said Smith admitted.

Certainly a bright idea their professor gave a green star.

"Of course an A," said Kal Massad with DeVry University. "If I could give more than an A, I would have given more than an A."

All students at Devry must complete a senior project to graduate. The students who designed the green bicycle will finish their studies in July.

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