Electricity under your feet
Last September, the first football pitch entirely illuminated by the players' energy was built in a favela, or slum, in Rio!
Based on a new technology christened "Pavegen", this revolutionary new lighting system was inaugurated in Mineira, a slum in the centre of Rio, in the presence of Pele, the king of football himself.
Two hundred plates made up of 80% recycled materials were installed under the new turf on the favela's old football pitch, in order to capture the kinetic energy generated by the players running back and forth across the pitch.
Recovering the energy generated by pedestrians is the creed espoused by British company Pavegen since 2009. Thousand of people walk through certain very busy areas and create energy that can be recovered through the technology of piezoelectricity.
The kinetic energy generated by footsteps is converted to electricity and then stored in a battery or used to power street lights, billboards, information panels and other communication technologies.
The pressure of a footstep bends Pavegen's pavers by five millimeters, converting up to eight watts of kinetic energy for the footstep's duration, which is to say eight joules.
This explains why these energy-capturing pavers made from recycled concrete polymers and old tires have been installed in key locations such as the starting lines of marathons, tube station corridors and even the most popular dance floors.
The Mineira stadium in Rio de Janeiro was not Pavegen's first incursion into the field of piezoelectricity. In addition to being installed in clubs, the technology had already been tested during the London Olympics and the 2013 Paris marathon. The technology is currently to be found under the floor of Heathrow's Terminal 3.