Footballers' pounding feet power community soccer pitch lights
Just over three years ago, a UK company looking to harvest the kinetic energy of pedestrians received its very installation order. Since then we've seen Pavegen's tiles turn to the crowd for school installs and being laid at the Paris Marathon. Now the firm has partnered with Shell for its biggest undertaking so far – to give a run-down community soccer field in a Rio de Janeiro favela an off-grid power supply which benefits the whole community.
Part of Shell's Make The Future program, which aims to inspire young scientists and engineers of the future, and hailed as the first of its kind, the Morro da Mineira project saw 200 energy harvesting Pavegen tiles being installed underneath newly-laid AstroTurf of the redeveloped community pitch. A number of PV panels were also positioned around the perimeter, and all the harvested energy from the players running over the tiles and from the sun is stored on site before being converted to electricity to power floodlighting.
"We have taken this idea from a bedroom in London to a football pitch in Brazil through our partnership with Shell, encouraging young innovators of the future to make a real difference in their community," said Pavegen's 28 year-old founder and CEO Laurence Kemball-Cook. "In the two weeks on site in the community, children helped complete the installation. It was a real life science experiment that didn't stop when school ended for the day."
The companies reckon that the community can look forward to up to 10 hours of illumination from a full battery, helping to ensure that kids of all ages have somewhere safe and secure to kick a ball around whatever the hour. The tiles also include a wireless Application Programming Interface (API) for the collection of real-time data, which can be transmitted to predetermined web addresses for analysis.
The video below provides a brief overview of the project, including footage of soccer legend Pelé at the official opening last month.