World record for rowers who generated enough electricity to power a house for a day

Jul 11, 2012 By Emma Thorne

It is official! The University of Nottingham has set a new Guinness World Record for the most electrical energy generated by indoor rowers in 24 hours. A relay of rowers converted sheer muscle power into 12.4kWh of energy – that’s enough electricity to power a typical three bed house for a whole day.

Members of the Nottingham University Boat Club and the Faculty of Engineering masterminded the attempt which was a highlight of the official launch of the University’s £150m fund raising campaign Impact: The Nottingham Campaign in October last year.

With no one rowing less than three minutes and a maximum time of up to half an hour on the machines the rowers broke through their own target to set the new record. Although the majority of were boat club members many other volunteers took part in the 24 hour challenge.

Mark Gillott, Professor of Sustainable Building Design and Co-Director Institute of Sustainable Energy Technology, said: “To put this into perspective 12.4kWh is approximately the amount of electricity a typical three bed house would use in a 24 hour period - this record really highlights how much human effort would be required to generate our own domestic needs!”

Jessica Fok, the University Boat Club President, said: “This is a fantastic achievement by all involved, from the rowers themselves to the technical experts in the Faculty of Engineering who made the whole thing possible. Our challenge clashed with preparations for a British Universities event but still our rowers turned up in large numbers. They even kept going after they’d reached their original target. I would also like to say a big thank you to all the non-rowing volunteers who had a go and helped us set this new world record. ”

A feat of engineering

A fleet of Concept 2 rowing machines had to be specially converted to generate and a special monitoring interface was created by a group of University engineers had to keep track of the power generation. To set anything near a world record the resistance-gearing on the machines had to be set at a very high level to generate enough power. The power they generated was used to light a bank of 50w car head lamp bulbs – to ensure that the rowers could see when they were slacking!

Among the engineers responsible for setting up the equipment was Professor Seamus Garvey who also ran up a total of seven stints of three minutes each in the early hours of the morning. He said: “Although there were some slight technical hitches at the start and we were consistently underestimating the electrical power being generated, as the later calibration showed, it was a lot of fun.

Physically demanding

Nigel Mayglothling, Assistant Director of Sport at the University, said: “This has to be one of the most physically demanding things I’ve been involved in. I struggled to keep up the pace. It was a fantastic effort by everyone – especially those who did the night shift.”

The certificate was presented to the club at last week’s Henley Royal Regatta by Ian Wilson, an ex-international oarsman himself and the managing director of Concept 2 whose rowing machines were used for the record breaking achievement.

Mr Wilson said: “This is an incredible achievement by the boat club and engineers. I often get asked by customers if they can generate useful electricity from Concepts’ exercise equipment and this record really demonstrates how little electricity an individual can produce from exercise machines when compared to our daily electrical energy requirements. - one house needing a large team of athletes just to keep it running.”

The world record attempt was one of the main features of the week-long launch of the University’s largest ever fundraising campaign which aims to transform research, enhance student experience and help the University make an even greater contribution to the global communities it serves.

Explore further: First-of-a-kind supercritical CO2 turbine

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Germany sets weekend record for solar power

May 30, 2012

(Phys.org) -- Solar power plants in Germany have set a new record. “Never before anywhere has a country produced as much photovoltaic electricity," said Norbert Allnoch, Germany’s director of the ...

U of T food engineers help set world record

May 12, 2011

Graduate students from the University of Toronto's Department of Chemical Engineering and Applied Chemistry’s food engineering laboratory helped to set the Guinness Book of World Record May 10 for largest ...

Recommended for you

First-of-a-kind supercritical CO2 turbine

21 hours ago

Toshiba Corporation today announced that it will supply a first-of-a-kind supercritical CO2 turbine to a demonstration plant being built in Texas, USA. The plant will be developed by NET Power, LLC, a U.S. venture, together w ...

Drive system saves space and weight in electric cars

Oct 17, 2014

Siemens has developed a solution for integrating an electric car's motor and inverter in a single housing. Until now, the motor and the inverter, which converts the battery's direct current into alternating ...

Dispelling a misconception about Mg-ion batteries

Oct 16, 2014

Lithium (Li)-ion batteries serve us well, powering our laptops, tablets, cell phones and a host of other gadgets and devices. However, for future automotive applications, we will need rechargeable batteries ...

Turning humble seaweed into biofuel

Oct 16, 2014

The sea has long been a source of Norway's riches, whether from cod, farmed salmon or oil. Now one researcher from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) researcher hopes to add seaweed ...

User comments : 2

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Digi
not rated yet Jul 11, 2012
I am amazed the article doesn't indicate the number of rowing machines - 10, 20, 100???? Doesn't the author think that is important?
gmfr
not rated yet Jul 11, 2012
I was part of the 40 person team at Boston University that set the 24 hour single erg world record back in 96. It was a crazy blur but a lot of fun.