It’s not exactly cheap, and in rapidly modernizing countries (or even U.S. municipalities with budget woes) the idea of illuminating a neighborhood soccer field so kids and adults can play at night (especially in a poorer neighborhood), might seem like an impossibility.
But a couple of weeks ago Pelé (the Brazilian soccer player) and Shell (the global oil – ahem energy company) this week showed off a soccer revolution, a field located in the heart of Morro da Mineira, a Rio de Janeiro favela, capable of capturing the kinetic energy created by the movement of players around the field and combining it with nearby solar power to provide a source of renewable electricity for lighting the field.
The field uses two hundred high-tech, underground tiles to capture the energy created by players running around the field, along with energy created by solar panels next to the field and stores it in batteries next to the field. These new floodlights provides the players with a lit field and everyone else in the favela a safe and secure community area 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 effort is a component of the Shell #makethefuture program, which endeavors to inspire entrepreneurs and young people to see science and engineering as potential career choices, and hopes to inspire both to use their minds to develop energy solutions for our planet’s future. The kinetic technology used at the soccer field was developed by a UK Shell LiveWIRE grant, which is designed to be a catalyst for young students and entrepreneurs seeking to grow promising ideas into viable and sustainable businesses.
Could we someday see a World Cup match lit by the players or maybe even a Monday Night Football game?
Only time, and a continued commitment to advancements in renewable energy generation and storage, will tell.
For other interesting kinetic energy inventions (and potential innovations), continue reading here.
Image Source: Treehugger