About a year ago, Pavegen, an energy startup, installed tiles at a soccer pitch in Rio. The specialty of these tiles? They were able to harvest kinetic energy and convert it into electricity. The movement of players across the tiles was used for generating electricity and powering the pitch’s floodlights. A similar second pitch has been created in Lagos, Nigeria.
The tiles by Pavegen can take a bit of compression when they are stepped upon and this kinetic energy from the compression is converted into electricity. Lagos’ pitch makes use of this electricity in collaboration with solar panels to ensure that the floodlights are functional even when the power from the grid isn’t up to the job.
The project is being headed up by Shell as part of its LiveWIRE program via which Pavegen is being supported. Akon, yup – the music star, is also part of this project due to his company, Akon Lighting Africa that is responsible for developing solar powered lighting for Africa. His company partnered in on the project and he says, “New, reliable and smarter energy solutions play a major role in driving human progress in Africa. 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.”
The pitch is located at the Federal College of Education in an area that used to be ‘pitch black at night’. However, 100 Pavegen tiles have changed that – the tiles were placed below the pitch surface – and the kinetic energy from these tiles is stored and combined with the power from solar panels. This allows to power the floodlights so that the students at the college are able to play soccer at night. The project has also helped in creating a well-lit and safe community place to hang out.