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.

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