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Energy harvesting from an exercise bike using a switch-mode converter controlled generator

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  • Design


This paper investigates the feasibility of using an alternator as means of harvesting energy from a stationary exercise bicycle. A switch mode converter was designed to regulate the current in the alternator rotor winding, thus regulating the power required to pedal, and consequently the power output of the bike. The complete controller design consists of this power stage, a control circuit, a startup circuit and an overvoltage protection circuit. A functional overview of the entire controller is presented in the paper, along with in-depth descriptions of the specific subcircuits designed. The system is self-starting and does not require an external power source. There are two modes of operation: Voltage regulated 12V output for connection to a standard inverter, and unregulated output for charging of a 24V battery, with direct linear control of the rotor current, thus simulating road bike gearing. Prototype bikes were built and used at several events, and the functionality was experimentally verified.

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