2.5 watts doesn't sound like a lot of energy, but when you multiply that number by 23 million cell phone users you get a whopping 25.4 million kilowatts per year required just for charging their cell phones, enough energy to power a small city (21,000 homes).
According to the media kit (PDF) from the recently launched Tremont Electric, a start-up based in Cleveland, Ohio, 23 million is the number of consumers who own cell phones and are physically active. Founder and inventor Aaron LeMieux believes that a little device he calls the PEG (Personal Energy Generator) can convert the energy created by all those people walking every day directly to electrical current similar to a typical wall outlet. That electrical current can power computers, cell phones and other electronic devices.
They call it nPower, and in a typical one-hour walk, an individual generates about 2.5 watts of this free and abundant source of energy. That's sufficient to charge a typical cell phone battery to about 80 percent capacity. In other words, if you walk an hour every day you would never need to plug in your cell phone again.
While others have tried and failed to create a device that harnesses mechanical energy, LeMieux succeeded be developing a set of spring-loaded magnets that manage to amplify the individual's motion, making the conversion from mechanical to electrical energy cost-effective.
The device (made from recyclable plastic, of course) will retail for $149 and is expected to be out for Christmas, making it the must-have eco-gift of the holiday season. In addition to pleasing the greenies, it has the potential to "cross over" into mainstream markets. The PEG has that added game-changing factor of encouraging physical activity. The more you walk, the less your energy bill, and the better you feel about yourself and your planet.
The fact that the PEG literally gives "power to the people" will, I predict, make it appealing to a broader, non-green market.