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Star Wars Day: How much does it cost to power a Lightsaber?

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anakin skywalker
It looks cool, but wait until he sees the bill...

No one likes being smacked with a hefty energy bill, and Jedi are no exception.

But have you ever wondered how much it really costs to power a Lightsaber, the tool of choice for everyone’s favourite Sith-battling heroes?

Prominent futurologist Dr. Ian Pearson has teamed up with British Gas to work out exactly how much wielding the legendary Star Wars weapon costs.

Ian Pearson’s design for a Lightsaber is based on “self-organising flakes of graphene” that are coated with carbon nanotube electron pipes to create a “tube” shape and provide a “gentle glow”.

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These flakes, Pearson says, will act as a reflector for a “high power laser beam” measuring around 2cm wide, which should for Jedi-style cutting.

Pearson gets his 100,000W estimate based on the current power usage of existing industrial-strength laser cutters – they operate at between 500W and 6,000W. But they’re slow, so to cut through things quickly, Pearson reckons you’d need at least 100,000W of power.

According to British Gas, that works out an a lofty £372 per day of use – that’s the same as 10 electric showers running for 24 hours straight.

But Lightsabers aren’t the most power-hungry tools at a Jedi’s disposal; Pearson estimates that the Star Wars Hoverbike requires 150,000W to run – that’s the equivalent of one-hundred dishwashers.

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hoverbike

“A Star Wars style Hoverbike is likely to use antigravity, but you could do it with hovercraft fans to lift and propel it,” explains Pearson. “About 25,000W would suffice to do the lifting, but at broadly motorbike shape, air resistance dominates power consumption at high speed.

Pearson says that you’d around 150,000W of power to ensure the Hoverbike can reach speeds of 200mph, at a cost of £558 per day, mind.

All this sounds very costly for would-be Jedi, but Harry Potter fans have reason to rejoice: the invisibility cloak costs just 37p to run for a day – that’s the same price as a 100W light bulb.

“The easiest way to create an invisibility cloak is to use a camera on one side linked to displays on the other so that when you look at it, you effectively see out the other side,” explains Pearson.

“As some areas of the cloak mimic shaded areas, power consumption for a cloak of 2sqm would be 100W,” he continues.

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Do you disagree with any of Pearson’s estimates? Let us know in the comments.

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