A new technology developed by British start-up Pavegen harvests energy from people’s footsteps and converts it into electricity. The invention was last tested in Brazil on a football pitch. CCTV America’s Lucrecia Franco reported the story from Rio de Janeiro.
One football pitch in a Rio de Janeiro favela is the first-ever of its kind, using energy from the players’ feet.
Brazilian favela hosts player-powered football pitchA new technology developed by British start-up Pavegen harvests energy from people's footsteps and converts it into electricity. The invention was last tested in Brazil on a football pitch. CCTV America's Lucrecia Franco reported the story from Rio de Janeiro.
It is located in the heart of the Morro da Mineira favela in the north of Rio. The pitch has 200 tiles under the turf that capture and store the kinetic energy created by the footballers steps. Combined with solar panels installed around the field, it can power the floodlights overhead so they can also play at night. It opened in September of 2014 and has become a local attraction and a source of pride.
“Having a football pitch with kinetic energy, the first one on in the world, in our community was a big surprise. Neither me or anyone could ever imagine we would have in our community a football pitch with all that technology,” Pedro Paulo Ferreira, president of the Morro da Mineira Association said.
Laurence Kemball-Cook, a 28-year-old energy whiz, is the founder and CEO of Pavegen, the company that developed the technology. Cook partnered with Royal Dutch Shell to turn the favela into a real life science experiment.
“We didn’t know it worked until it was actually installed and ultimately it served a couple of purposes. One it was the energy mix with the future so working with solar as well. It was showing how tangible we actually could be in a large macro scale but also inspire future generations,” Cook said.
This project in the Morro da Mineira is not only about testing the first- of- its kind, player-powered pitch in a poor community, but it also aims to make young people here and around the world think about alternative energy sources and sciences studies.
“If I could, I would use those tiles in the field to generate free lighting for everyone in the favela because we really need it here,” resident Gabriel Oliveira said.
Pavegen has installed similar tiles in train stations in Europe, London’s Heathrow airport and sports events such as last year’s Paris Marathon, among other projects. Its main aim, however, is to make this clean technology affordable as any linoleum flooring. Each tile now costs about $500, but the price is expected to fall as the company refines its manufacturing process.
“Today we are deployed in over twenty countries, we work for some of the biggest brands in the world but our challenge is to re-bottom out that cost,” Cook said. “There is no reason why everyone can’t buy and why every single street can’t be covered in our tiles. So it is very near and it won’t take 25 years. Our technology will be ready in the next two to three years to be deployed on mass citywide.”
Rio’s football pitch has proven to be a success. The energy stored by the players generates 100 percent of the light needed to illuminate the pitch every night, giving everyone in the favela a safer place to enjoy football while taking part in what could be a solution for energy dependence.
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