May 18, 2009 Tibetan prayer wheels have been used for centuries to create harmony, enhance compassion and generate positive karmic energy. Now, a device that could potentially harness the kinetic energy created by millions of tourists and Tibetans spinning the prayer wheels each year has been developed, with the aim of providing additional electricity for street lighting and homes.

Taikkun Lee, a graduate student working at the prestigious GFRY Studio, at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, built his Zenergy Prayer Wheel Generator from used bicycle parts and a discarded surplus fan motor, all items that can easily be found in developing countries.

The sustainable and eco-friendly invention is designed to supplement the unreliable electrical grid in Tibet with energy generated by the millions of tourists who visit the area each year and spin the prayer wheels.

As the prayer wheel spins the mechanism generates energy, channeling it through an insulated conduit to the local electrical grid. By combining the low-cost efficiency and long life of 21st century LED lighting with the simple 20th century efficiency of a bicycle, the Prayer Wheel Generator uses the best of high and low technologies.

Whether or not the Prayer Wheel Generator is feasible, it's a nice thought that the simple action of spinning a wheel in prayer can manifest a renewable energy source.

Karen Sprey

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