How many MPs does it take to power 1,000 light bulbs?
The next time MPs gather to debate energy and climate change in the House of Commons, they should be aware that the hot air they produce could power up to 1,000 light bulbs.
A group of physics students at the University of Leicester has calculated the energy produced by 650 members during a Commons discussion would equate to 10.34kW of power per second – enough to keep 1,000 energy-saving light bulbs going.
Student Daniel Staab, 23, from Germany, said: "We assumed the hot air output is the same for members of all parties and will stay the same in the future, regardless of who wins the next elections."
The conclusion was reached after calculating the power generated from heat flow as MPs breathe in air and heat it to body temperature in their lungs, before breathing it out back into the room.
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The student took into account the heat capacity and density of air as well as average volume flow rates during prolonged talking – and found that 2.54 kW would be generated by the 650 MPs.
They also calculated the power output created as water vapour from the MPs' exhaled breath condenses into liquid.
This would add a further 7.8kW, bringing the total output to 10.34 kW.
The group of fourth-year students published the findings in the paper, Hot Air in the House of Commons, in this year's University of Leicester's Journal of Physics Special Topics.
The journal is published every year, and features original short papers written by students in the final year of the physics masters degree at the university's department of physics and astronomy.
The paper was written by Daniel, 23, and fellow final year students Emily Jane Watkinson, 22, Maria-Theresia Walach, 22, and Zach Rogerson, 22. They stressed their findings were based on the assumptions that all MPs are present and talking continuously – and there is equal hot air production.