Using human-powered products for sustainability and health: Benefits, challenges, and opportunities

Hyunjae Daniel Shin, Amin Al-Habaibeh, Jose L. Casamayor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


This paper presents a novel research work on the potential benefits of using, a unique and sustainable energy source - the human-power. The paper discusses the benefits and the practicality of using human-power as a domestic energy source to power electrical and electronic devices and explores the benefit of its use in a more diverse perspective for possible change in behaviour and energy savings for improved sustainability in the society. The economic and sustainability gains of using Human-Powered Products (HPPs) are investigated. Two studies have been conducted, the first is a study which involves assessing the environmental impact of a human-powered products via Life Cycle Assessment (LCA); and the second is a case study called Home User Study (HUS), where the technology is experimentally tested. The human-powered system is used to explore the real benefits and life-cycle analysis towards assessing the sustainability of such products. The Home User Study (HUS) has been conducted to explore the in-situ use of human-powered systems using a new prototype that has been built and deployed. The study has used a monitoring device to measure the outcome of the interaction between the user and human-powered products. The results interestingly have revealed various other forms of benefits beyond renewable energy that could add extra motives for using human-powered products, such as health benefits. The paper also puts an emphasis on the opportunity of using Human-Powered Products which can be perceived as a great viable solution against counter measuring social issues such as physical inactivity and increasing sedentary behaviour. The results of the theoretical study indicate that Human-Powered Products (HPP) do not offer significant financial savings. The results of the HUS indicate that using human-powered products for health prospective outweigh the benefit gained from the prospective of energy savings and renewable energy. Based on the findings of this study, the paper suggests an approach that shows how the implementation of Human-powered systems could provide the opportunity to sustainable energy generation and energy savings, but in all cases they can be retained through a motivational drive in improving the health benefit via encouraging physical activities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)575-583
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Cleaner Production
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Dec 1

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 Elsevier Ltd

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Strategy and Management
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering


Dive into the research topics of 'Using human-powered products for sustainability and health: Benefits, challenges, and opportunities'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this