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Run Power: Treadmill Is World’s First Grid-Worthy Energy Producer

Verde Treadmill
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With the launch of the Verde treadmill, sustainable fitness equipment-maker SportsArt is at the forefront of producing electricity as a byproduct of human exercise.

SportsArt debuted the market-ready Verde G690, which the brand calls the “world’s first energy-producing treadmill,” at the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) this week.

The commercial cardio machine is the latest invention in SportsArt’s ECO-POWR line, which includes indoor, upright, and recumbent cycling equipment as well as elliptical and cross-training machines. All use an electromagnetic and mechanical braking system to generate electricity during a workout.

SportsArt is the first to harness human power, such as walking, jogging, or running, on a treadmill and send it back to the grid. One eco treadmill uses a USB port to power a small device like a smartphone. But the Verde is the first to generate up to 200 watt-hours of “utility-grade” electricity.

From Your Legs to the Grid

The Verde G690 non-motorized treadmill uses a low-friction belt with slow incline and smart braking to start and stop. The user’s body weight propels the belt, which triggers the flywheel to spin, generating energy. But replacing a traditional motor’s spot with a patented micro-inverter is where this technology takes a big green leap.

Similar to the conversion mechanisms of solar panels and wind turbines, the Verde’s internal inverter in effect “cleans” the manmade power and turns it into grid-ready electrical energy. Anything plugged into a gym’s grid can tap that free power.

Verde treadmill

Depending on your weight, speed, and workout duration, one session on the Verde might only generate between 50 and 250 watts of grid-ready AC power. That’s enough to light up a traditional 60-watt light bulb for an hour and a half. But it’s more when you take into account new technologies like LED bulbs. One hour-long jog could power about 50 of those for the same amount of time.

Where to Find a Verde Treadmill

So far, only commercial gyms are using ECO-POWR machines. But according to Matt Thorsen, SportsArt product specialist, the YMCA is on the vendor list for the new Verde.

And progressive gyms like Sacramento Eco Fitness are already using G510 Indoor Cycle bikes. SportsArt eco-fitness products are also popping up at universities with dedicated funds for sustainable workout facilities.

In the near future, consumers could be purchasing these green machines for their homes.

“Right now, these products are overbuilt for the average consumer,” he said. “But we are working toward more consumer-facing products, with more streamlined dimensions and price points.”

Interest at the SportsArt CES booth is mostly in the form of jaw-dropping, Thorsen said.

“I’m seeing a lot of people mouthing ‘wow’ as they walk by. But it’s an educational thing. It takes a certain amount of time to get the word out that something like this exists.”

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