April 8th, 2015 by Derek Markham
Entertainment shouldn’t have to require dirty fossil fuels for power, but unfortunately, most concerts and films are powered by the grid, not clean energy. One alternative power option could be to purchase solar or wind energy credits through the utility or a third party provider, but a much more direct, and more visible, way to provide electricity for events is by using a human-powered system, with attendees helping to generate clean electricity right on site.
A small grassroots organization, Pedal Power Hawaii, has been helping to introduce this sustainable alternative to powering public events in the island state, with their use of specially built bicycles that generate electricity for films, concerts, and more. But to really bring their vision to life, they need your help, in the form of support for their Kickstarter campaign, which seeks to raise enough money to purchase additional bikes that could conceivably power a concert at the Waikiki Shell in Hawaii.
The initiative came from the founders of a local community organization, called Knowledge in Motion, which aimed to use music, films, and books “to educate and strengthen communication within the grassroots community in Hawaii.” After realizing that their efforts relied on fossil fuels, the three men sought out a more sustainable alternative, and ended up teaming up with Pedal Power Music in Oregon, and bringing several of the specially built bikes to Hawaii to create Pedal Power Hawaii.
The bikes, which are said to have recently broken a Guinness World Record for wattage produced by bike (500 watts in 4 hours), feed the electricity into 1500 W battery packs, which then supply the speakers with efficient DC power (with no inverter losses). The goal of the Kickstarter campaign is to underwrite the purchase of several additional bike generators, with any luck bringing the total for the organization to at least 6 bikes, which is enough for a full-scale concert. If the group has 10 to 12 of these bikes, they say they could power a show at a large venue, such as the Waikiki Shell.
“The Pedal Power Project is a way to change our mindset about the way we use electricity. We live on an island in Hawaii, and here more than anywhere else we need to think about sustainability on a daily basis. Human powered energy is a long forgotten but very reliable source of energy. By having the audience pedal the bikes and physically power the event, whether it’s a music concert or film festival, they are contributing in a way that no other event can offer.”
These pedal-powered machines also serve a few other purposes, such as demonstrating energy consumption and production to kids at school presentations, as well as being a potential power source during natural disasters or other power outages.
If you can get behind the idea of more bike-powered films, concerts, and other events, you can pledge to support Pedal Power Hawaii with any amount of money through the Kickstarter campaign page, where the organization aims to raise at least $7500 toward their goal.
This post has been generously supported by Pedal Power Hawaii.
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