Pump That Body! Generating Renewable Energy From the Human Body


Burning calories and generating electricity at the same time surely has to be one of the best answers to two of the biggest challenges faced by different societies across the globe: generating clean energy and tackling the obesity pandemic.

And this is what the folks at the Texas State University are doing: they are getting students and faculty members to generate electricity by working out.

According to a story on YNN Austin (includes video) the gym at the university is equipped with machines that are geared up to generate electricity.

“The rotational energy here runs a generator and then it’s creating DC power that is converted by an inverter on the wall into AC power,” Steve Souku, of Texas State University, told YNN.

Texas State University is not the only place where the human body is being used to generate alternative energy.

A Swedish train station is tapping the body heat generated by 250,000 daily commuters to heat a building next door. It works like this: the surplus body heat is captured by the station’s ventilation system and used to heat water, before being pumped to the building across the street.

Meanwhile in the U.S., MIT researchers are working on a concept called crowd farm to generate electricity from populated places. The fact is, a single human step can power two 60-watt light bulbs for one second; it’s easy to visualize how much energy is wasted from human motion because we simply don’t convert all this effort into power.

Let’s think about it – it could be a fairly significant source of power … from and back to the people!

Article by Antonio Pasolini, a Brazilian writer and video art curator based in London, UK. He holds a BA in journalism and an MA in film and television.

About Author

Walter’s contributions to CleanTechies over the past 4 years have been instrumental in growing the publications social media channels via his ongoing editorial and data driven strategies. He is the founder and managing director of Sunflower Tax, a renewable energy tax and finance consultancy based in San Diego, California. Active in the San Diego clean technology community, participating in events sponsored by CleanTech San Diego, EcoTopics, and Cleantech Open San Diego, Walter has also been a presenter at numerous California Center for Sustainability (CCSE) programs. He currently serves as an adjunct professor at the University of San Diego School of Law where he teaches a course on energy taxation and policy.


  1. I liked the story that came out several months ago about the crematorium which was using the heat generated by its burners to warm the consolation rooms and the rest of the building.

    Of course, no mention of what happens with the stank….

  2. “Gee, it sure was warm during the service.”

    “Yes, well, Uncle Ed was a big man…”