An odd combination of Shell Oil Company and the rapper Akon have teamed up to fund a soccer stadium in Nigeria that harnesses Kinetic energy from the players’ steps. This energy is stored and used to power the floodlights for games played at night and hopefully can be expanded in other areas to power entire communities. It is a creative idea that does not seem over complex. Tiles under the field’s turf convert the energy from every step on the field into a small amount of electricity.
There are so many positive qualities brought on by this new technology. Encouraging healthy exercise is always a good thing. The intense climate of Nigeria makes it tough for soccer players to have matches and practice in the hot sun, but by powering the fields lights by players running, not only can they play more the risk of dehydration and sunstroke are reduced. Using kinetic energy is also incredibly beneficial for the environment. Renewable energy not only reduces our carbon footprint, but is also the best source of energy for some less developed areas of the planet. Nigeria’s infrastructure does not provide many smaller villages with electricity, but this sort of technology can help them harvest their own.
CNN did a piece on the use of kinetic energy (http://www.cnn.com/2014/12/30/tech/innovation/tomorrow-transformed-energy-harvesting/) in areas other than sports. They theorized that in the future cities may use sidewalks, stairs, and other methods of gathering kinetic energy to power themselves. Sporttechie’s article explains how the stadium in Nigeria is only a prototype, one of two in the entire world. The other one is funded by Brazil soccer legend Pele in his home country.
As an avid environmentalist and soccer fan it would be amazing to see this technology used more in the sport. Other sports could potentially adapt this technology as well. The problem is neither the Sporttechie nor CNN articles stated the exact price of implementing the tiles that gather kinetic energy. Celebrities and a multinational oil company have funded the two fields in existence with such tiles, so we can assume they are not cheap. Use of kinetic energy in this manner is a fascinating technological advancement for the sport of soccer, but I hope one day it can be used as an innovation of mankind’s energy usage.
Barker, Matt. "This Soccer Pitch In Nigeria Harnesses The Kinetic Energy Produced By The Player's Footfall - SportTechie." SportTechie. 19 Jan. 2016. Web. 21 Feb. 2016. <http://www.sporttechie.com/2016/01/19/this-soccer-pitch-in-nigeria-harnesses-the-kinetic-energy-produced-by-the-players-footfall/>.
Shadbolt, Peter. "Future Cities May Harvest Energy from Human Footsteps." CNN. Cable News Network, Web. <http://www.cnn.com/2014/12/30/tech/innovation/tomorrow-transformed-energy-harvesting/>.