How Many Hamsters Do You Need to Power a House and Would This Be Cheaper Than Coal Power? | Summary and Q&A

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September 11, 2018
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How Many Hamsters Do You Need to Power a House and Would This Be Cheaper Than Coal Power?

TL;DR

It would take approximately 486,000 hamsters running on wheels to provide enough electricity to power an average American home for a year, but the cost of acquiring and maintaining the hamsters, along with other expenses, would make hamster power more expensive than coal power.

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Questions & Answers

Q: How many hamsters would it take to power an average American home for its entire lifespan?

Considering a hamster's typical lifespan of 3 years and the average homeowner living in a home for 13 years, it would require over 2.1 million hamsters.

Q: Can hamster power be cheaper than coal power?

While the cost of hamsters alone would be around $10 million over 13 years, the ability to breed them and potential discounts on cages and food could significantly reduce the overall cost. However, if hamsters were to replace coal power on a large scale, the demand for grain mix food would exceed the world's annual grain production.

Q: What are the major costs associated with a hamster power plant?

The major expenses include cages (roughly $2 million), food ($1 million per year), electric motors for generating electricity ($1.5 million), and warehouse space ($960,000 per year). Labor costs would also account for a significant portion of the expenses, ranging from a few million dollars up to $40 million per year.

Q: Are there any environmental considerations to hamster power?

Hamster power does not pose any significant environmental impact, and in fact, the hamster feces and wood shavings can be used for fertilizer or biogas recovery systems to generate additional electricity.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • An average American household uses about 900 kWh of energy per month, or 38,880 Megajoules per year.

  • A hamster running on a wheel can produce about 0.5 joules per second while running, adding up to 15.77 Megajoules per year.

  • It would take approximately 2,465 hamsters with infinite stamina to power a typical American home for a year, or around 486,000 real hamsters accounting for their limited exercise time.

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