Shell and Brazilian soccer player Pelé this week showcased a first-of-its-kind soccer field capable of capturing kinetic energy created by players' movement and combining it with nearby solar power to generate renewable electricity.
Located in the heart of Morro da Mineira, a Rio de Janeiro favela, the soccer field uses 200 high-tech, underground tiles that capture kinetic energy created by the movement of the players. The energy is then stored and combined with the power generated by solar panels next to the field to convert into renewable electricity for the new floodlights, giving everyone in the favela a safe and secure community space at night.
Until it was redeveloped by Shell, the soccer field was largely unusable and many young people were forced to play in the streets. The Morro da Mineira project shows how creative ideas delivered through committed partnerships can shape neighborhoods and transform communities.
The project is part of the Shell #makethefuture program, which aims to inspire young people and entrepreneurs to look at science and engineering as a career choice, and in particular use their minds to develop energy solutions for the future of the planet. The kinetic technology used at the soccer field was developed by a grant recipient of the UK Shell LiveWIRE, which serves as a catalyst for young entrepreneurs and students to develop enterprising ideas into viable and sustainable businesses.
A company called Pavegen has developed a similar kinetic technology, which uses tiles to harness the kinetic energy of footsteps. In January, the company unveiled a project at the Simon Langton Grammar School for Boys in Kent, England — where 24 tiles, covering 12 meters of a corridor, captures and converts kinetic energy from students’ footsteps into a sustainable energy source. Every time a Pavegen tile is stepped on, kinetic energy is converted into electricity, which lights an LED on the surface of the tile, as well as helping to light the area.
Another energy generating technology you can trample on is being developed by an Idaho couple — a modular paving system of solar panels that can be installed on roads, parking lots, driveways, sidewalks, bike paths, as well as playgrounds, to generate electricity to power homes and businesses connected via driveways and parking lots.