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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

“Millennium Genie” Visits UMB

Students at UMass Boston got a big surprise on December 6 when the first solar energy-powered bicycle made an appearance on campus. Dave Hammond, a graduate student in the Environmental, Coastal, and Oceanographic Program (ECOS), took it for a spin around Wheatley Hall. At the invitation of UMB professor Bob Chen, Hammond put on a display that morning for the professor’s environmental sciences 101 class.

According to Hammond, who owns the bicycle, this is the first time a solar-powered bike has been shown. “The solar bike was designed to share the road with cars, so as to capture a market nitch, before major investments are needed,” stated Hammond.

He then went on to explain some of the invention’s details. “The bike has an 0.75 horsepower electric motor, a 24 volt lead-acid battery and a variable speed control by Currie Technologies. It’s solar-powered, in that if you mount a couple of photo votaic (solar) panels on your roof to feed your electrical system, charging the batteries on this bike makes it solar-powered.”

Bill Darby, the “Millenium Genie” designer, was also on hand to answer questions. Darby has a shop in Arlington, Massachusetts.

“If we sell enough of these solar bikes, we’ll be able to attract the interests of companies like Electrovaya Toyota, that make very advanced batteries,” noted Darby.