The science of nuclear energy
The science of nuclear energy

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The science of nuclear energy

2.1.2 Human power station

In the following clip, Bang goes the Theory demonstrates how much electricity we use without even thinking about it.

Download this video clip.Video player: ou_futurelearn_nuclear_energy_vid_1029.mp4
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Transcript

DALLAS CAMPBELL
Okay. I'm watching Dan. I don't know what he's doing. He's mooching about a bit. Where has he gone? He's vanished.
LIZ BONNIN
I can't see where he is now.
DALLAS CAMPBELL
Okay.... He's - - OH! The shirt's coming off! The shirt's coming off!
LIZ BONNIN
Dan is taking off his clothes!
[Yelling]
DALLAS CAMPBELL
Oh! Whoa! I mean, he's a good looking man. He's a good looking guy. Don't get me wrong.
Avert your eyes. Avert your eyes.
Okay. So basically, I think by that, we can ascertain that Dan is about to have a shower. What does that mean?
LIZ BONNIN
We need all cyclists on board now, because it's not any ordinary shower. It is an electric shower.
DALLAS CAMPBELL
It's been switched on, the most feared appliance in the house. It's the moment we've all been dreading.
[Yelling]
Here we go. Okay. Tim and Colin are really whipping the cyclists up now.
LIZ BONNIN
They really are.
TIM
Don't kill yourself!
LIZ BONNIN
An electric shower, of course, means 8.5 kilowatts. That equates to about 70 of our cyclists sprinting like the clappers to get that power shower going.
We need some power -
DALLAS CAMPBELL
Come on, guys!
LIZ BONNIN
--ASAP. Let's go! We're in the white, boys, we're in the white. And the needle is dropping. It's gone up again. Come on!
DALLAS CAMPBELL
Keep going!
LIZ BONNIN
Give it welly, boys.
DALLAS CAMPBELL
Keep going!
LIZ BONNIN
And of course, Mrs C's sister did say that Mr Collins likes to have a grand, long shower in there.
[SHOUTING]
MR. COLLINS
Ooh.
DALLAS CAMPBELL
Come on!
MR. COLLINS
[HUMMING]
DALLAS CAMPBELL
Let's hope he doesn't stay in that shower too long.
SPEAKER 2
Come on!
LIZ BONNIN
There is no free bike at all. This is really the test of the day so far.
Colin, the needle really dropped there. Didn't it?
COLIN
Yeah, it really did.
LIZ BONNIN
We're in the middle of the white.
COLIN
It was great, because some fresh legs just arrived and jumped on the bikes. That's seven people just arrived from Herne Hill Velodrome. So that's really good news.
LIZ BONNIN
Okay. Talk me through how many cyclists we have now on the floor.
COLIN
I believe we've got 78 cyclists currently pedalling.
LIZ BONNIN
We've put on as many people as we've got. And everyone is pedalling as hard as they can.
COLIN
All right, guys. Can we get a bit more pace. That's dropping, 26. We need to get back in the green.
SPEAKER 2
Come on!
COLIN
Come on, guys. Let's go! Dig deep! Come on in the front! Let's go! Come on!
Keep going! It is not off. Keep going! Guys, come on! Let's go! We need a bit more pace!
LIZ BONNIN
Dallas, are you all right, my love?
DALLAS CAMPBELL
Yeah, well, here's the thing. You've actually got to pedal like you're pedalling up hill to engage and to generate the power.
LIZ BONNIN
Can you really feel it?
DALLAS CAMPBELL
It's no good just to kind of free wheel. You actually need to have a bit of resistance.
LIZ BONNIN
Can you feel it?
DALLAS CAMPBELL
Yeah, like massively.
LIZ BONNIN
Our cyclists are going like the clappers. It's literally like pedalling very fast up hill. They've gained some power. We're back in the green. Well done, guys!
He's out of the shower. Oh my god. The relief is mighty.
DALLAS CAMPBELL
Woo! Well done, everybody! Well done!
End transcript
 
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In the experiment, cyclists were used to provide the electrical energy to run a house. When Bradley Wiggins broke the hour record recently, his average power over the hour was 400W.

In the next section, you’ll think about where the energy in the video came from.

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