Global warming is one of the most important issues of our generation. Although various attempts have been done in order to minimize the damage that has been already done to the environment, a long way lays ahead before achieving a meaningful change. Two of the largest sources for air pollution are stationary sources such as power plants, and mobile sources such as automobiles, An increasing recognition of the negative impacts of car use has emerged over recent years, in terms of congestion, air and noise pollution, safety, climate change and reductions in physical activity. This has spurred a growing interest in urban cycling generally. This has led to many emission regulation laws applied in various countries across the world, another attempt is integrating bike sharing programs (BSPs) as a part of the public transportation system.

The first generation of BSP is known as the white bikes ‘system’, characterized by no payment or security functions. Second-generation programs involved a coin deposit system (similar to trolleys at a supermarket or airport). The first large-scale second-generation program launched in Copenhagen in 1995, but the anonymity exposed the system to theft . The problems experienced by these first two generations of bike-share led to the development of third-generation systems, which are characterized by dedicated docking stations (in which bicycles are picked up and returned), as well as automated credit card payment and other technologies to allow the tracking of bicycles. It is these elements, in combination with growing public policy interest in cycling, that have enabled the rapid growth of BSPs globally. The features of fourth-generation systems are not quite so clear, but are said to potentially include dockless systems, easier installation, power assistance and transit smartcard integration.

Team Finnomenal Proposal

Introducing Project Zeus, Merging electric bike with city bike model. Instead of joining the general direction of electric bike development, the ZEUS bike will focus on generating energy instead of consuming energy. The ZEUS Project consist of two parts, the bikes and the stations. Generated energy from the bike will be transferred to a larger battery storage unit located in the station (power banks), this energy can be then introduced to the grid. A Dedicated Software for managing Bike Booking and profile managements.

A. The Bike

The Bike Include a Power Generating Element (Dynamo/Generator) that is connected to a storage element (Battery) and a micro controller to regulate, de-couple and re-couple the generator depending on the level of the battery.

B. The Station

The Station includes a large power storage unit with a sophisticated micro-controller to help to regulate moving the energy from the bikes to the station’s battery, as well as determining the rate of discharge based on several factors, such as users’ reservation preferences, time of the day and optimum efficiency. The station also includes a locking mechanism that helps with securing bikes, as well as a designated area for advertisements.

C. The Software

A software will be developed to accompany the bike and docking station, the app grants large degree of control to the user, granting them an access to a comprehensive journeys details history, profile status, and several other benefits that can be included once sponsors and stake holders are identified.

The Concept

The Zeus project is inspired by two concepts; generating power with city bikes and storing the produced energy using battery banks and docking stations. The idea of installing a generator on a rotating object has already existed for decades, yet it was seen as a promising method of generating electricity only in 2007 by California Fitness Gym in Hong Kong when they rigged 18 exercise machines to charge a battery and power fluorescent lights. Nowadays, city bikes became a part of public transportation. The Zeus project’s motivation is to take the advantage of the continuous movement of city bikes by placing generators on the bike tire, storing the generated energy in battery then inject this energy in the grid via docking stations. The stored energy can be used for e.g. street lightning, street commercials, etc. This offers the grid a continuous environmentally friendly source of energy. One of the first questions that might come to mind is: Can a human produce enough energy to make a visible impact on the grid?

A clothes dryer consumes 3.3 kWh per each use. According to the research done by Tom Gibson in 2011, 40 hours of pedaling a stationary bike produces enough power to use a clothes dryer once. This means that if 100 city bikes are used for 4 hours a day, this will generate around 33kWh! A single city bike is used 4-6 hours a day.

Once a bike is returned to the nearest station, the microcontroller’s algorithm will decide the optimum discharge rate from the bikes based on costumer’s reservations, efficiency and time of the day. Based on the number of bikes’ parallel batteries, the sophisticated microcontroller will control the DC-DC chopper for a stable charging/discharging process. The station battery is then connected to the grid via DC-AC inverter similar to the one used to connect solar panels and their batteries

Impact on Energy Market

Referring to Enoro’s workshop at Junction’s Hackathon 2015 in Helsinki, Finland, statistics determines that even though energy retailers offer their costumers a flat kWh price during the whole day, it actually costs them a higher price during certain hours. Figure 3 shows an example of the actual price of MWh in Finland during the day. It is clear that between 17:00 and 18:00 on 07.11.2015 the cost of MWh reached its peak. As mentioned before, the sophisticated microcontroller can be programmed so that the discharge rate increases during peak hours especially that Enoro’s measurements make it possible forecast the next days’ prices of MWh. This could help to minimize the dependency on the main energy recourses, reduce the carbon footprint and brings redundant benefits for the energy retailers.

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