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College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences


Pedal Power! Try Bike-based E-charger at Scarlet, Gray, Green Fair

April 16, 2010

WOOSTER, Ohio — Try a pedal-powered battery charger — built from mostly easy-to-get parts for less than $200, not counting the bike and bike stand — at Ohio State University's Wooster Campus Scarlet, Gray and Green Fair.


"This could have practical use, especially if a person wanted to power electrical items in an area where no electricity is otherwise available," said builder Barry Romich, a member of the Wayne County Sustainable Energy Network (WCSEN), one of the fair's coordinating sponsors.

"(Actor) Ed Begley Jr. is famous for generating enough electrical energy first thing in the morning to equal what he uses for toasting his toast."

The system uses a 12-volt battery, custom hub, and standard battery, power inverter, automotive alternator and other parts tied to a bicycle set on an exercise stand.

"I probably have under 20 hours in it, including the research," Romich said. "Including the battery, I would have under $200 in it, not counting the standard bicycle exercise stand.

"I'm happy to share the plans."

"Visitors will be able to try their hand" — actually, feet — "at charging the battery," said Jackie Buckwalter of Ride On, the Wooster, Ohio, bike shop whose exhibit will host the device. "It will give them a new appreciation for electricity."

She'll also show regular, non-charging bikes, including commuter and "comfort" models — all available for test rides — and related gear for both cycling and walking.

"Biking is the most energy-efficient form of transportation ever invented," she said. "Burn calories, not coal."

Romich will bring his plug-in hybrid electric vehicle to the fair too. A modified Toyota Prius, it doesn't run on pedal power but does burn a lot less gas than other cars: it gets about 100 mpg.

The fair, tied to Earth Week, takes place at the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC), 1680 Madison Ave., Wooster, from 11 a.m.-7 p.m. on Tuesday, April 20. Admission is free.

Call 330-287-1263 or visit for more information.

Visit Ride On's website at

About the Scarlet, Gray and Green Fair

Now in its third year, the Wooster Campus Scarlet, Gray and Green Fair will feature exhibits, demonstrations and more than 65 vendors, all on a theme of "Green is for Life!"

Renewable energy, energy conservation, alternative fuels and transportation, local foods, gardening, composting, and recycling will be some of the topics. About 1,800 people attended last year.

Coordinating sponsors are Ohio State's College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences; three parts of the college — OARDC, Ohio State University Extension and the Ohio State University Agricultural Technical Institute, also in Wooster; and WCSEN.

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Kurt Knebusch
Barry Romich, Jackie Buckwalter