In West Africa, Anglo–Dutch multinational oil and gas company, Shell, inaugurated Africa’s first kinetic soccer pitch at the Federal College of Education, Akoka, Lagos, Nigeria. The installed technology generates power through each players movement on specially designed electronic tiles.
This project forms part of Shell’s Market the Future programme “which puts bright energy ideas into action to bring benefits to local communities around the world,” the Netherlands-based company said in a statement.
Brains behind the technology
British innovator, entrepreneur and founder of Pavegen, Laurence Kemball-Cook, first installed this technology at a soccer pitch in a favela in Rio de Janeiro. Since then this unique technology has been installed in over 150 locations across the world, from parks and airports to shops.
The soccer pitch includes 90 electronic tiles that are placed under astroturf, an artificial grass, which then converts movement into power through kinetic energy.
According to the AFP, every time a player steps on a tile, 7 watts of power is generated and sent to a storage battery.
The pitch is connected to six powerful but low consumption LED floodlights, which are powered through the stored energy. “Solar panels around the pitch complement the technology, stocking electricity throughout the day,” the AFP added.
Kemball-Cook said: “We need solar, we need other solutions as well… we need it right now, we don’t want to be using these fossil fuel generators. We need to be using more renewable sources of power.”
He added that he aims to reduce the cost of each tile through mass production to a low $50 per square meter.
Joining Shell at the inauguration was international music sensation and co-founder of the Akon Lighting Africa (ALA) initiative, Akon.
The singer is driving “a large scale effort [through ALA] to develop solar-powered solutions that will provide African communities with access to clean and affordable sources of electricity,” the oil and gas firm said in a statement.
Osagie Okunbor, Country Chair of Shell Companies in Nigeria & Managing Director of The Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Ltd (SPDC) said: “Shell makes a significant contribution to energy solutions for Nigeria, and we are committed to supporting the Nigerian economy and its people. We need bright energy ideas.
“Some of these will come from Shell but naturally, others will come from outside our business. So it’s crucial that Shell supports energy entrepreneurs, and we hope that this pitch will inspire more entrepreneurs and young people to help us make a smarter energy future.”
Akon commented: “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.”
Home page pic credit: Children playing soccer on Rio de Janeiro soccer pitch. Pavegen