British engineer Laurence Kemball-Cook has developed a synthetic turf field that uses kinetic energy to power floodlights.
Kemball-Cook has called the system Pavegen. It is composed of a series of rubber panels made from recycled tyres. Because they are soft, they compress under the weight of each person who treads on them. This pressure is transmitted to quartz crystals and copper coils that, through induction, can generate enough electricity to illuminate a street for 30 seconds with just one step. With twenty-two footballers running all over the pitch during a match, a great deal more is generated.
Along with complementary solar panels and a battery, the pitch can be illuminated for ten consecutive hours with LED panels, even when no footballers are on the surface.
The technology has been in use in Morro da Mineira, Brazil, since 2014. The ground in the old stadium was essentially unplayable, and the terrace coverings were riddled with bullet holes. When the stadium was finally restored, it was done in a completely new way.
Barcelona FC wondered what would happen if a technology like this were installed in the stadiums and sports facilities of a big club like Barça? The calculations indicate that the Camp Nou stadium, combined with its training pitches, would generate enough energy in one year to equal three months of energy consumption in a single home. It’s not a huge amount, but if the technology were also installed in areas with more traffic, and exposed to public access, it would reduce the cost of illuminating the facilities.
The challenge, at the moment, is the high cost of the installation, around 11 million euros for the main stadium alone. The company hopes to reduce costs in the future, and the club, in its mission of incorporating new technologies in the world of sport, is keeping a keen eye on the technology as it evolves. Meanwhile, Laurence Kemball-Cook continues to spread the idea of using kinetic energy from football to every corner in the world. Another project – similar to the one developed in the favelas of Rio – was installed in Johannesburg, South Africa, in a neighbourhood where the need for night lighting is equally essential.