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Duracell.480
Pedal power to light up Times Square New Year sign…

The ritual dropping of the ball in New York’s Times Square on New Year’s eve, seen on television by millions around the world, is becoming a bit greener than in years past.

The 2-0-0-9 sign that will light up when the New Year’s ball finishes its descent will be powered by batteries charged by people pedaling on bicycles.

“This is our way of involving consumers in the whole process of powering the 2009 lighting when the ball drops on New Year’s Eve,” said Kurt Iverson, spokesman for Duracell, a unit of Procter & Gamble Co and which supplied the batteries.

Duracell has set up a “power lodge” in Times Square where visitors are ushered to a row of bicycles with generators connected to a set of massive batteries.

So far the project has collected 95 hours of pedal power, or about 35 percent of the total needed, Iverson told Reuters.

The power is generated from old-fashioned rotary technology — pedal power and spinning wheels.

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PHILIPS LIGHTING provided the new solid state lighting technology for the Ball, resulting in an astounding increase in impact, energy efficiency, and color capabilities. Capable of creating a palette of more than 16 million colors and billions of possible patterns, the 32,256 Philips Luxeon LEDs in this year’s Ball represent more than three times the number of LEDS used last year, to deliver a brighter and more beautiful New Year’s experience than ever before. And this year’s Ball is 10-20% more energy efficient than last year’s already energy-efficient Ball, consuming only the same amount of energy per hour as it would take to operate two traditional home ovens.

More:
New Year’s eve ball.
Ringing In 2009 with People Power.

Phillip Torrone

Editor at large – Make magazine. Creative director – Adafruit Industries, contributing editor – Popular Science. Previously: Founded – Hack-a-Day, how-to editor – Engadget, Director of product development – Fallon Worldwide, Technology Director – Braincraft.


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Comments

  1. Ryan says:

    I love how they use the word “consumers” rather than “people”. How about “generators”..?

  2. rosa says:

    Looks like the UK did it first with Bob & Roberta Smith’s cycle-powered christmas tree at the Tate.

    http://www.tate.org.uk/britain/exhibitions/makeyourownxmas/

  3. blahblah says:

    why dont they just get rid of those black lines all over the ball. seems like that would make it look better.

  4. zof says:

    How many times have we seen these PR campaigns with green written all over it? Perhaps they can tell us how green this is with the cost of transporting the batteries and bikes to location instead of just hooking it to the power grid?

    I’m afraid green has turned into nothing more then the little trendy PR word for marketing people and not a state of mind.

    I don’t mean to sound hateful but don’t give credit where credit is not due.

  5. Phillip Torrone says:

    @zof – who is giving credit that is not due? the post is just a fact, the ball is pedal powered. the ball has LEDs, it doesn’t say the world’s energy problems are solved or anything like that.

    that said, solving the world’s energy problems needs to start somewhere and people need to be inspired and educated about what’s going on – i don’t think it’s bad for these companies to try and promote alternatives.

    perhaps “green” is overused and trendy as you say, but things could be worse – SUVs and easy-to-get mortgages were trendy once, i’m glad to see green replacing them, at least there’s a chance something good can come out of it.

    as far as the costs of transporting the batteries, one could say the food that all the workers eat has transport costs, that new years eve wastes power and things like that – we’re humans, we consume resources, for progress to happen we need to consume even more – the alternative is the end of the species?

  6. zof says:

    True true PT the exposure of showing people that things are possible is a good cause, and my comments were more or less directed at reuters not makezine.

    My bad man, did you see my last post on the hobo? this one was writen before that.

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