Grand National vs. The Boat Race: Generating enough energy to power 100,000 TVs

British Gas compiled data to highlight the power generated by man and horse during the UK Boat Races and the Grand National.

The UK Boat Races

Watched by thousands this past weekend (Sunday April 2nd) along the banks of The Thames between London’s Putney and Mortlake, and by millions more on TV around the world – The Cancer Research UK Boat Race lived up to its spectator hype.

The Boat Race is an annual rowing race between the Oxford University Boat Club and the Cambridge University Boat Club – this year, it was Oxford who claimed victory.

The Grand National

The Grand National, held annually at Aintree Racecourse in Liverpool, is the most valuable jump race in Europe, with a prize fund of £1 million in 2016.

The handicap steeplechase takes place over 4 miles 514 yards (6.907 km) with horses jumping 30 fences over two laps.

It’s estimated that a quarter of the UK adult population will bet on the Grand National this year, and a TV audience in excess of 10 million is expected to tune in to watch the drama.

0000_Britsh Gas Business_Horses vs. rowers infographic Twitter V2-01


Comparing the power output of man and horse

A racehorse completing the Grand National will use twelve times more energy than an entire Boat Race crew.

British Gas Business research shows that the average male Blue Boat rowing team could generate almost 2.3KWh, the same amount of energy needed to power 200 televisions.

Meanwhile, a 450kg thoroughbred completing the Grand National could use enough energy to power almost 2,500 televisions.

Up to 40 horses compete in the Grand National. If every horse was to cross the finishing line, the total energy used combined with the two Boat Race teams competing could power more than 100,000 televisions across the country for the duration of the respective races.

Could manpower and horsepower generate enough energy for a business to operate?

The average workplace computer uses 0,09 KWh per hour when in use. This means that the average male Blue Boat rowing team could power a workstation for 26 hours.

A racehorse competing in the Grand National will power the workstation for 312 hours.

A compact fluorescent light bulb (CFL) uses 0.014 KWh per hour. A single rowing team competing in the Boat Races could generate enough electricity to run a light bulb for 19 days or 165 hours.

A single racing horse will run the same light bulb for 228 working days or 1980 hours.

The beauty of both manpower and horsepower is that we’re not relying on the erratic nature of the wind or the sun. Of all the renewable fuels, it is unlikely that any is more sustainable than our own bodies.

Self-powering gym workstations are currently one way the human body can help produce electricity.

Technologies such as this will not save the world’s energy crises anytime soon, but they remain a foundation for generating clean energy in the future.



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