Date of Defense


Date of Graduation



Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

First Advisor

Damon Miller

Second Advisor

Harold Glasser


Human powered energy is an underutilized and ubiquitous type of renewable energy that is able to combat small-scale dependencies on natural gas and coal. The bicycle generator is a form of harnessing human energy that ranges in complexity, materials, and system output reliability. The Sustainable Bicycle Generator project focuses on redesigning a bike generator to be efficient, responsibly sourced, cost-effective, and aesthetically pleasing for home and office applications. The objective of the project is to create a turnkey solution for hands-on learning about energy and self-sufficiency in order to develop a deeper understanding of how humans generate and consume energy. Additional benefits include promoting wellbeing through exercise during the winter months, a modular system that is portable and replicable, and a solution for remote energy needs via a portable battery. The generator acts as an add-on to bicycle trainers for stationary use of a bicycle with easy set-up and teardown. Main components of the system include a motor, battery, inverter, and charge controller. The components are encased in a “Smart Box” for multi-mode switching between demonstration and battery charging. Bluetooth cadence sensors track rider cadence to provide a direct feedback loop. The system produces an average of 110W for a 50% exertion level of the rider. The energy payback time, or equivalent bicycle hours, for the battery is 382 hours. The total system cost to construct is $495.


Co-Authored with Erika Fojtik

Access Setting

Honors Thesis-Restricted