Good Thinking

Nigerian soccer pitch is lit by player-power

Nigerian soccer pitch is lit b...
The kinetic energy generated by the Pavegen tiles is stored and combined with power generated by accompanying solar panels
The kinetic energy generated by the Pavegen tiles is stored and combined with power generated by accompanying solar panels
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The kinetic energy generated by the Pavegen tiles is stored and combined with power generated by accompanying solar panels
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The kinetic energy generated by the Pavegen tiles is stored and combined with power generated by accompanying solar panels
Shell and music star Akon, whose own company develops solar-powered lighting for Africa, also partnered on the project
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Shell and music star Akon, whose own company develops solar-powered lighting for Africa, also partnered on the project
Around 100 Pavegen tiles were laid below the pitch surface
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Around 100 Pavegen tiles were laid below the pitch surface
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A little over a year ago, Pavegen's kinetic energy-harvesting tiles were installed at a soccer pitch in Rio. The movement of players across the tiles is used to generate electricity and power the pitch's floodlights. Now, a second such pitch has been created in Lagos, Nigeria.

Pavegen's tiles afford a small degree of compression when they are stepped upon, the kinetic energy from which can be harnessed to generate electricity. In Lagos, the technology is being used in tandem with solar panels to ensure that the floodlights remain on even when the unreliable power grid isn't up to the task.

The project is headed up by Shell as part of its LiveWIRE program, through which Pavegen has been supported. Music star Akon, whose own company Akon Lighting Africa develops solar-powered lighting for Africa, also partnered on the project.

"New, reliable and smarter energy solutions play a major role in driving human progress in Africa," says Akon. "Projects like this innovative football pitch draw attention to the major opportunity that Nigeria as well as the whole of Africa have if we look to better harness new technologies and the continent's abundant renewable energy resources."

Shell and music star Akon, whose own company develops solar-powered lighting for Africa, also partnered on the project
Shell and music star Akon, whose own company develops solar-powered lighting for Africa, also partnered on the project

The pitch itself is located at the Federal College of Education in an area that was "pitch black at night." Around 100 Pavegen tiles were laid below the pitch surface. The kinetic energy generated from these is then stored and combined with power generated by the accompanying solar panels.

In this way, it is possible to power the floodlights so that students at the college can play soccer at night. The project has the added benefit of having created a well-lit and, therefore, safe community space.

In the video below, Akon provides an insight into the project.

Sources: Pavegen, Shell

Shell and Akon unveil Africa’s first human and solar powered football pitch | Shell #makethefuture

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3 comments
HensleyBeuronGarlington
Embed this high traffic areas, everywhere, now! This mixed with the solar roads idea...
Bob Stuart
Oh, come on! Let's see some numbers. The back of my envelope says that you can have fun or light, but not both. Only falling sports are played on sand, and this would feel like that to a runner. This looks like a big corporate greenwash, praising entrepreneurs even as they are routinely crushed, and an illustration of the profound troubles in education today.
reasonablyskeptical
Pavegen's website has some math that claims 7.2 Joules is generated for each 5mm footstep on its product (1 Watt-hour per 500 footsteps). This in itself should raise a giant red flag as that equates to a mass of 147kg falling through that distance. Even if this were true and a rather large person managed to step on one EVERY SECOND for about 7.7 months (the 20 million step lifetime of the tile), it would only generate a total of 40 kWh, assuming 100% efficiency. My fairly average house uses more energy than that every day and this energy has a value of only about $5 at my rates. Considering that the Pavegen tile costs $76(US) this is clearly a non-starter. Interesting idea but totally impractical.