Cycling to Commute to Work
Cyclists ride past puddles after a thunderstorm in central London, May 26, 2011. REUTERS

An environment-friendly invention, which uses kinetic energy to generate electricity is being promoted by Bambootec, an association based in Yucatan, Mexico. The group built a special type of bamboo bicycle that could power up mobile devices simultaneously such as smartphone batteries while a cyclist is pedaling the bike. Additional features are Bluetooth connection and a navigation dashboard attached to the handlebars.

Energy transfer is facilitated by a converter placed under the saddle. During conversion, the device has a system that regulates voltage and prevents drainage of electricity as well. Cycling momentum could accelerate or slow down and this disrupts the power generation. The regulator stabilizes current flow even if this occurs while biking. The electricity generated is conducted through three power outlets made of cables having USB ports. One connects to the navigation device, which measures distance and time. The cyclist can also opt to use the Bluetooth and link it to a smartphone. The second port can be used to recharge another mobile device, whereas the third one is used charge a smartphone's external batteries.

According to Cristina Espinosa, Bambootec founder, the amount of electrical energy generated which is over 10 volts is enough to supply the three outlets with power all at the same time. The group also chose to use of bamboo tubing instead of a metal frame in some parts to make the vehicle cooler and lighter yet strong because it supports a load of 120 kilograms. The power generator has been tested and it demonstrated a capacity of charging the devices one percent per minute. This means that more kinetic energy should be applied to enhance the charging process. The other research associates are Alfonso Lopez, Xool Moo, Luis Villar del Maso and Edson Ochoa Herrera. They have participated in the Cleantech Challenge Mexico, a contest that promotes the development of green enterprises.

Manufacturing bamboo bikes and promoting its use of are some of the current environmental advocacies. Using this type of light vehicle is beneficial in many ways, and this idea of utilizing it to power up devices makes it more helpful and efficient.

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