This football pitch is floodlit by foot power
As the Sun sets over the Morro da Mineira favela in Rio de Janeiro, player power ensures this pitch stays lit. The six LED floodlights surrounding the field are powered by 200 kinetic tiles buried under the AstroTurf, which capture the energy generated by the players’ activity.
“I found a way to use energy from a footstep to rotate a flywheel,” explains Laurence Kemball-Cook, the 30-year-old founder of UK company Pavegen, which makes the technology. “The more people walk on it, the more it spins.”
Each 5cm-thick tile, which cost £600 a square metre to buy, produces up to 7W of power per footstep – if they aren’t being stepped on, the output is supplemented by solar panels. The tiles, which activate when people land on the “hot spot” in the centre, also collect footfall data. “We’re using our tiles to give retailers a granular insight into how people are moving,” says Kemball-Cook.
Since laying the pitch in 2014, Pavegen has laid tiles in more than 100 locations, including Harrods and Heathrow Airport in the UK. Now it’s preparing to launch its Mark4 tiles, which generate electricity from every step, not just those that hit the hot spots. “The first site will be outside the White House in Washington,” says Kemball-Cook. Power to the people.
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