OREGON STATE UNIVERSITY

OSU and UO students engage in energy-producing contest

11/24/2009

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Students from Oregon State University and the University of Oregon will have a chance to work off some of their pre-Civil War angst next week by engaging in a friendly contest to see which school can generate the most student-driven power.

From Monday, Nov. 30, to Thursday, Dec. 3, students at both universities will use elliptical machines at their respective recreation centers to see who can generate the most power.

Event organizers say it is not only a chance to work off the pre-game jitters prior to the Dec. 3 football showdown – the winner of which goes on to the Rose Bowl – but an opportunity to raise awareness of sustainability issues, said John-Albert “JAC” Conlu, a member of OSU’s Student Sustainability Initiative and event coordinator.

“A typical 30-minute workout can generate about 50 watt hours,” Conlu said, “and that can keep a light bulb on for two-and-a-half hours, run a laptop for an hour, or charge a cell phone six times. The more resistance that students use on the machines, the greater amounts of power generated.”

OSU will have 12 of its 22 elliptical machines at Dixon Recreation Center wired for the competition, and the University of Oregon will have all 12 of its machines at the UO Student Recreational Center hooked up. A special kickoff recognition for the competition will be held on Monday, Nov. 30, from 5-7 p.m. at OSU’s Dixon Recreation Center.

In February of this year, OSU became one of the first universities in the country to harness the energy of its students by hooking up the elliptical machines to create power and returning it to the grid (http://oregonstate.edu/ua/ncs/archives/2009/feb/osu-harness-power-its-students-%E2%80%93-literally). Thus far, the machines have generated about 800 kilowatt hours, Conlu said.

“Our ultimate goal with the exercise machines is to both generate power and provide learning opportunities for our students, who clearly care about renewable energy,” said Brandon Trelstad, OSU sustainability coordinator.

In 2007, OSU students voted to impose upon themselves a fee of $8.50 per student each term to purchase renewable energy for the campus. Since then, about three-fourths of OSU’s renewable electricity has come from renewable production and OSU has been cited by the Environmental Protection Agency as one of America’s top five campuses for use and management of “green” power.