In a Brazilian neighborhood plagued by blackouts, panels under the turf of a neighborhood soccer field, fueled by players running over them, provide electricity to light the field and the surrounding homes. A typical soccer player can run up to seven miles during a football game. Most of the players in this neighborhood are local children, poor, who formed a very attentive audience while the field was being installed.
The panels provide clean, human powered energy to a neighborhood that needs it. “I knew that if we could power the field in the favela [neighborhood], we could change renewable energy perceptions in developing countries,” says Laurence Kemball-Cook, founder of Pavegen, the company that makes the tiles.
Each step creates a small amount of energy, and it is supplemented with solar panels surrounding the field. “On a fully charged battery, the technology can power lights and the surrounding favela for up to 10 hours,” explains Kemball-Cook. “I believe this will make a massive difference to a place that so often goes without electricity – the community can now become a core part of their own energy generation.”
“Before the astroturf had even been set on the pitch, the children were eager to test out the technology, jumping and playing on the tiles,” Kemball-Cook says. “Of course, knowing that their energy was being stored in a tangible and useful way really helped. They couldn’t wait to see the lights illuminate the pitch at night, knowing they had helped power them.”
The tiles used in this soccer field have been installed in several schools, a marathon track, and a subway station. The company is optimistic about their future plans. “In the future we hope to become part of the fabric of urban infrastructure in smart cities as a whole, not just playgrounds and stadiums,” says Kemball-Cook.
Source | Images: Fast Company.