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ambys

What mountaineering activity uses the most energy?

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I'm looking into devising a means to generate electrical power by utilizing excess energy that we naturally expend while mountaineering. For example, cyclists have learned to affix generators to their tires in order to generate electrical current to power their lights; the generators merely capture the pedaling energy that the cyclists are already expending. Really, I'm trying to find out what an analog might be in the world of mountaineering. Given the bulk of solar panels and the weight of crank chargers, it's not always practical to generate electrical energy in the backcountry. However, if there were a way to capture energy that was already being exerted, it might make charging cameras, GPSs and the likes a lot more practical and easy.

 

Here's where you guys come in. What aspect of mountaineering do you feel makes you expend the most mechanical energy? Specifically, what mechanical actions do we mountaineers routinely take whose energy could perhaps be captured and stored electrically? To give you an idea of what I mean, here are my thoughts so far:

1) Placing a device at the bottom of a backpack so that the up-and-down momentum from walking pushes against a mechanical generator.

2) Placing a device between the front of the ankle and the inside of the boot, so that the flexing of the ankle as we walk charges a mechanical device.

3) Placing a mechanical generator inside a walking stick, so every time we push it against the ground, it generates some charge.

 

Unfortunately, my ideas don't quite generate enough energy to make efficient use of; however I'm convinced that there is some activity that is just waiting to be taken advantage of, and I'm very interested in developing a prototype and trying it out this summer.

 

Please share any thoughts you might have!

 

And mods, if this is the wrong place for this thread, then please feel free to move it accordingly. I know it isn't the perfect fit for this forum, but I wasn't sure where else it would belong.

 

--ambys

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ambys

I suspect you think that we can get something for nothing here.

This is not the case. When you kick in that bicycle powered generator, it slows the bike way down. It is a real drag. any device, whether in the boot, the backpack or the walking stick will cause you to exert a force over a distance. This is known as work.

No matter how you get the electricity mechanically, you are going to have to increase the amount of work you do.

 

One way around this is to harness your waste heat. You can use the Seebeck effect. You would place the hot side of a power module against your skin, and expose the cold side to the outside air. A power module (G1-1.4-219.1.14) from Tellurex sells for about $45 and can deliver 5.7 watts with a 180 degree F delta across it. If you had one side against your skin and one side at zero degrees F, you might get half of this or about 2.8 watts.

 

You will need an aluminum or copper heat sink against your skin, maybe the size of your back, and a corresponding sink in the outside air, maybe a 10 inch by 10 inch by 2 inch set of aluminum fins.

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Bill,

 

Thanks for the reply (I'll look into the specifics of what you mention; I'm aware of thermoelectric generators but I have not seen that such implementation).

 

As far as getting "something for nothing," you're absolutely right that that isn't quite the case. Cyclists absolutely have to put out a bit of extra power when the generator is added. However, the key (hope) is that you can minimize the extra energy that needs to be exerted in order to take advantage of energyy that is already being spent, and I do suspect that that's possible.

 

Perhaps for that reason the dynamo is not the best analogy. However, I do believe that my original contention is possible. With every step you take, for example, you're hitting the ground with a given force. Wouldn't it theoretically be possible to capture some of that force mechanically, lessening the force exerted directly into the ground, thus not violating the law of conservation of energy?

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Thrashing up an offwidth w/ no pro on lead uses up more energy than just about anything. Simply wrap the rope around the alternators pulley between the belayer and the leader.

 

The extra resistance will hardly be noticed by the climber.

Edited by jhamaker

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It is my experience that the majority of energy of most climbers expend is through 1) bullshitting about climbs and grades and 2) arguing about ethics

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It is my experience that the majority of energy of most climbers expend is through 1) bullshitting about climbs and grades and 2) arguing about ethics

 

Drew's autobiography!

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One should be able to generate electricity on rappel. Instead of using a rap device that dissipates kinetic energy as heat, employ some form of regenerative brake. Make sure it brakes effectively too so you don't die.

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lust

 

fix climber to one end of cord attached to dynamo, with sheep at a distance

 

as climber progresses towards sheep, pulling cord, cord rotates drum and generates electricity

 

some of electricity can be used to move sheep further away from climber, resulting in perpetual motion.

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quietly masturbating in the tent so as not to make that zip zip noise of the sleeping bag nylon

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One should be able to generate electricity on rappel. Instead of using a rap device that dissipates kinetic energy as heat, employ some form of regenerative brake. Make sure it brakes effectively too so you don't die.

 

According to my calculations, assuming 100% efficiency of converting gravitational potential to electrical energy, for a 70kg climber rapping at a speed of 0.5m/s would be 300Watts. In reality you would be doing well to get 10% efficiency, so 30Watts for the 120seconds you are rappeling. With this I am assuming you will be charging some sort of battery.

 

What did you say you wanted to power with this? :lmao:

 

This doesn't include the extra energy you expend humping some dynamo up a climb. Also, I should point out you could generate more power by burning your turds.

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The ankle flex idea doesn't sound so good since boots tend not to flex that much. I would think that a device similar to your backpack idea but, that move back and forth attached to the boots might work, since a stepping motion is probably the most common motion. Then later Mike can attach then to his wrist to continue generating energy late into the night.

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One should be able to generate electricity on rappel. Instead of using a rap device that dissipates kinetic energy as heat, employ some form of regenerative brake. Make sure it brakes effectively too so you don't die.

 

According to my calculations, assuming 100% efficiency of converting gravitational potential to electrical energy, for a 70kg climber rapping at a speed of 0.5m/s would be 300Watts. In reality you would be doing well to get 10% efficiency, so 30Watts for the 120seconds you are rappeling. With this I am assuming you will be charging some sort of battery.

 

What did you say you wanted to power with this? :lmao:

 

This doesn't include the extra energy you expend humping some dynamo up a climb. Also, I should point out you could generate more power by burning your turds.

30 W is a fair amount. Even at 10% efficiency then, 30 W at 2 minutes would pull in as much power as a 1W solar panel in full light left out for an hour. I don't have any particular device in mind that I want to power, but presumably a battery charger would be nice.

 

Thanks!,

ambys

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Flying an expedition to the Himalayan mountains uses the most energy.

 

Helicopter approaches are also energy intensive.

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The other option I'm weighing is a high-torque crank-generator that could be spun by attaching a walking stick or ski pole. I'm still looking into how "lightweight" it could be though.

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One should be able to generate electricity on rappel. Instead of using a rap device that dissipates kinetic energy as heat, employ some form of regenerative brake. Make sure it brakes effectively too so you don't die.

 

According to my calculations, assuming 100% efficiency of converting gravitational potential to electrical energy, for a 70kg climber rapping at a speed of 0.5m/s would be 300Watts. In reality you would be doing well to get 10% efficiency, so 30Watts for the 120seconds you are rappeling. With this I am assuming you will be charging some sort of battery.

 

What did you say you wanted to power with this? :lmao:

 

This doesn't include the extra energy you expend humping some dynamo up a climb. Also, I should point out you could generate more power by burning your turds.

30 W is a fair amount. Even at 10% efficiency then, 30 W at 2 minutes would pull in as much power as a 1W solar panel in full light left out for an hour. I don't have any particular device in mind that I want to power, but presumably a battery charger would be nice.

 

Thanks!,

ambys

 

I would expect only on a "seige style" expedition could you justify bringing a dynamo or solar panels (or other battery charger) over a few extra batteries.

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Problem solved. Just modify THIS.

That's a *very* nifty idea, but I have to wonder how much weight the additional framework adds to the pack:

dn10835-2_250.jpg

 

Is anybody aware of whether or not bags like these are on the market yet?

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One should be able to generate electricity on rappel. Instead of using a rap device that dissipates kinetic energy as heat, employ some form of regenerative brake. Make sure it brakes effectively too so you don't die.

 

According to my calculations, assuming 100% efficiency of converting gravitational potential to electrical energy, for a 70kg climber rapping at a speed of 0.5m/s would be 300Watts. In reality you would be doing well to get 10% efficiency, so 30Watts for the 120seconds you are rappeling. With this I am assuming you will be charging some sort of battery.

 

What did you say you wanted to power with this? :lmao:

 

This doesn't include the extra energy you expend humping some dynamo up a climb. Also, I should point out you could generate more power by burning your turds.

30 W is a fair amount. Even at 10% efficiency then, 30 W at 2 minutes would pull in as much power as a 1W solar panel in full light left out for an hour. I don't have any particular device in mind that I want to power, but presumably a battery charger would be nice.

 

Thanks!,

ambys

 

I would expect only on a "seige style" expedition could you justify bringing a dynamo or solar panels (or other battery charger) over a few extra batteries.

I'm not sure that I agree. I don't know exactly what you mean by "seige style," but a panel like the SolarRoll offers a few advantages over extra batteries.

 

First of all, if you have a group of say, 10, people, a panel is a lot lighter weight than everybody bringing extra batts.

 

Second, on longer trips, extra batts can accumulate and go bad. Not only are you stuck carrying them after using them, but 4 weeks in even new batteries may not be "full." Rechargeables, on the other hand, can be refreshened on a bright day, and you only have to bring minimal extras.

 

Lastly, if you have items that need Li-Ion batts, like a sat phone, then extras will far outweigh a panel.

 

ambys

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