So these two brothers are opening a brewery in Detroit which will run on green energy. Part of which will be bicycle power. Fun!
“Honestly, I think it’s a bit of a gimmick,” said Steve Tanner, a math professor at Eastern Oregon University who was visiting Detroit, with sweat streaming down his face. “But it’s a fun gimmick,” he said, having logged 15 minutes on the bike.
Mr. Tanner’s “gimmick” assessment isn’t unfair. Pedal power enjoyed a boom in popularity in the 1970s amid a spike in oil prices and increased enviro-consciousness. Leg-driven power has some allure with environmentalists, minimalists, doomsday believers and people providing simple machines to third-world nations. But there are far more efficient ways to produce energy.
That fact doesn’t square well with Windmill Pointe Brewery’s pitch. Even customers producing 150 watts of electricity, for example, would take 7.5 hours to build up about a dime’s worth of electricity.
The WSJ article cited above also includes this interesting tidbit:
In Pittsburgh, ZeroFossil outfits homes with pedal-powered devices to provide backup power. Steven Kovacik, the founder and president of the company, says his business has thrived since the end of 2012, when some people believed a Mayan prophecy of an-end-of-civilization event would be fulfilled, causing people to buy pedal-powered generators. Now, he thinks the growth is coming from a desire to be more energy independent.
“I believe it’s a combination of being more sustainable, and a desire for energy independence,” he said. “But also, if you are going to get exercise, why not put that energy to use.”
Great idea! Instead of using an exercise machine that consumes power, why not make power? That actually makes a lot more sense to me than the beer for biking gimmick. It’s cute though; I hope they are successful.