Lagos, the megacity of Nigeria, has found a new energy source, thanks to Pavegen.
The British technology company recently installed its technology into a soccer pitch. The Pavegen soccer field converts the energy generated by players’ footsteps into electricity. The electricity then powers the lights for the pitch.
This technology gives Lagos a clean, sustainable energy source to meet some of its demands. Nigeria has been hit by fuel shortages in recent months, and as the country continues to develop, the demand for electricity will likely rise.
Being able to harness renewable energy sources will be critical to meet increases in demand while reducing environmental threats from increased fossil fuel consumption. Technology that generates electricity without having to put strain on a grid is favorable, especially in countries like Nigeria. The reliability of centralized grids will potentially be challenged in the future, due to the likelihood of unfavorable weather associated with climate change.
In Lagos, 4 out of 5 people rely on diesel generators for electricity. It’s not an ideal solution, with the possibility of failure and costs of fuel. Solutions like the player-powered field can help accelerate the accessibility of electricity and at a lower overall cost.
The Pavegen soccer field represents progress in electricity generation and provision. “I believe that we will change the way people see energy as we begin to scale and fully industrialize the Pavegen technology,” Pavegen CEO Laurence Kemball-Cook wrote at the end of 2015. “We’re hoping to install our technology across the African region one day.”
The technology has its limitations; it likely won’t be the cure-all for every energy-hungry nation. “We’re not trying to make Pavegen the sole energy source to power every city in the future,” he said on another occasion last year. “We believe it’s going to be one of the key consitutents of the energy mix of the future.”
Though there are some questions about the Pavegen soccer field technology and its outside applications – for example, if it could be used elsewhere, like rural areas – the project is a landmark for energy supply and development.