04 June 2010

Another Metric of Energy Math

Understanding the scale of energy production and consumption can be daunting. Today's FT provides a useful metric to get a sense of the magnitude of the energy challenge:

Mobile phone manufacturers have been struggling for years to find ways for users to keep their handsets charged while on the move. On Thursday, Nokia unveiled its latest solution: a pedal-powered battery charger.

Cyclists will be able to plug their handsets into a charger mounted on their handlebars and connected to a dynamo that harnesses electricity from the wheels.

Sounds cool . . . until you see how long it takes to charge a phone battery:
It would take two-and-a-half hours for a cyclist riding at 15km an hour to fully charge a battery, the Finnish group said.
Who would want such a device?
The product could prove popular among the environmentally conscious as a carbon neutral way to charge a mobile phone, but its main appeal is likely to be in developing countries, where access to electricity is limited.
Given the choice, most everyone will just plug their phone into the wall to recharge it. Of course, if you don't have a choice, any access to energy technologies may certainly be welcome. Energy access is key.