The grossest idea from The Matrix could lower your energy bill – Inverse

by | May 7, 2022 | Energy

In the cult film The Matrix, unwitting humans’ body heat was siphoned off by machines to use as their energy source. Although that might not be the ideal situation to find ourselves in, the basis of the idea — using the warmth we generate to heat our buildings — could help fight climate change by cutting fossil fuel use.Let’s look at the science. The average human body emits about 100 watts of heat at rest. When exercising, that heat can easily exceed 1,000 watts, energy that could boil one liter of water in six minutes. For comparison, a standard (3 kW) home kettle takes more than two minutes to heat a liter of water.Where does that energy come from? Mostly food. The body’s internal metabolism uses products of digestion, such as carbohydrates and fatty acids, to produce the energy that drives muscle contraction. However, about 70 to 95 percent of the energy produced is released as heat. This shows that the human body isn’t very efficient at generating mechanical energy from food; in fact, it’s slightly less efficient than a gasoline engine.Much of this heat is removed from the body through convection, infrared radiation, and sweating, which cools skin using evaporation. This explains why in extremely hot and humid conditions, you don’t feel comfortable — your sweat isn’t evaporating as easily into the saturated air.Using infrared cameras, we’re able to see that heat as it moves from bodies to their surroundings. These cameras depict areas of increased heat (where more heat is being lost) as lighter in color and cooler areas as darker, showing us where most heat is being wasted.In infrared, you can see which parts of me are hotter and cooler.Amin Al-habaibehWhen peo …

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