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Human-powered Bicycle VS.Electric Bicycles: Which is more Carbon efficient?
Posted on: April 6, 2021
  • Kees van der Leun gave the answer, including the argument method:
  • Human-powered bicycle: Cycling for 1 kilometer requires an additional intake of 20 to 25 calories of food, while producing 1 calorie of food requires an equivalent carbon dioxide emission of 1.5 to 2.5 grams, so the carbon footprint of human-powered bicycle is 30 to 60 grams per kilometer.
  • Electric bicycle: At present, the world's average carbon emission per kilowatt-hour of electricity is about 400 grams, so the carbon footprint of electric bicycle is about 3 grams per kilometer. If the carbon emission of the battery itself is taken into account throughout its life cycle, then the carbon footprint of electric bicycle should be close to 10 grams per km.
  • The conclusion of this problem is that the carbon footprint of pedaling your own bicycle is higher! Even in China, the carbon emissions from power generation are currently about 800 grams per kilowatt-hour, and the carbon footprint of electric bicycles is about 20 grams per kilometer, which is still lower than that of human-powered bicycle.
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