Brazilian soccer legend Pelé has unveiled a new lighting system which uses kinetic energy from the movement of players on a pitch, as well as solar panels; to illuminate a community soccer field in Morro da Mineira, Rio de Janiero.
The intention of the project is to provide a safe space at night for young people to play soccer, and spark children’s interest in science.
A total of 200 underground tiles situated in ten rows – five on each side of the pitch – gather the players’ kinetic energy as they run and feed that power to six 280-watt LED floodlights at the field in a Rio de Janeiro favela.
According to Richard Kemball-Cook, chairman of the British startup Pavegen that supplied the tiles, the company’s technology uses a system of cogs. When stepped on, the cogs spin like tops and act like generators.
Pavegen has installed similar tiles at train stations in Europe, shopping centers in Australia and Terminal 3 of London’s Heathrow Airport; but the field in Rio de Janeiro is a first for the British company.
The system provides 20 percent of the electricity for the lights around the pitch, while the remaining percentage come from the solar panels set up at the facility.
Pelé became emotional over the project, tearing up as he said he hoped the new field would help spark local kids’ interest – not only in football, but in science.
“My father named me Edson, after Thomas Edison,” the Brazilian great said, whose birth name is Edson Arantes do Nascimento.
“I’m sure that soon the number one scientists in the world are going to be Brazilians.”
The Morro da Mineira project is part of the Shell #makethefuture program, which aims to inspire young people and entrepreneurs to look at science and engineering as a career choice.
Pavegen’s founder Laurence Kemball-Cook was a Shell LiveWIRE UK Young Entrepreneur of the Year finalist in 2011, and his company received a grant from Shell to develop this technology used at this field.