Green Living

What are some good sources of kinetic energy?
Answered by Planet Green
  • Planet Green

    Planet Green

  1. You could loosely think of kinetic energy as the energy of stuff that's in motion. If you want to find a good source of kinetic energy, how about looking in the mirror? One of the most interesting potential sources of kinetic energy is transforming human movement into usable energy. Your body creates energy through its movements and the heat it generates. Some estimates hold that you can produce up to 11,000 watt-hours of power every day just through normal bodily functions. That's almost three times the watt-hours of energy you're likely to consume! The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) estimates that a human footstep can provide 1 to 2 watts of energy, but for it to be used to power something else -- well, it first has to be captured, and capturing physical human energy for other uses remains the critical challenge.

    And remember that we're talking about movement -- any kind, not just walking. Human energy can be tapped, theoretically, from dancing, jogging or any number of other activities that involve us not sitting still and watching television. One company testing human energy estimates that it can transform six hours of average human motion into 30 to 60 minutes of cell phone power [source: LaMonica].

    It's not just, exclusively, moving people we need for good sources of kinetic energy either. Another potential source of kinetic energy comes from any kind of moving vehicle. Harnessing the kinetic energy of a car may power on-board electronics, such as the radio, for example, and this would work independently of the car's battery and engine. Hybrid cars today already take advantage of kinetic energy capture with their regenerative braking systems, which using energy captured from braking to recharge their batteries.

    Another source of kinetic energy is from nature. Wind turbines are a good example of this. Scientists also are looking into ocean tides as a source of energy.

    More answers from Planet Green »

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