Rio de Janeiro, 10 September 2014 – Brazilian football legend Pelé today helped Shell shine a light on the world’s energy future by unveiling a first-of-its-kind player-powered community football pitch in the heart of a Rio de Janeiro favela.

As a real-world example that ideas can come from anywhere, Shell has used the invention of a young entrepreneur to solve a challenge for the Morro da Mineira community. The football pitch, a key part of life for favela residents, was refurbished by Shell using 200 high-tech, underground tiles that capture kinetic energy created by the movement of the players. This energy is then stored and combined with the power generated by solar panels next to the pitch to convert into renewable electricity for the new floodlights, giving everyone in the favela, and especially young people, a safe and secure community space at night.

André Araujo, Shell Brazil Country Chair, said: “By 2050, the world will be using 75 per cent more energy than it does now. Meeting that extra demand will require a set of energy sources – and a new generation of scientists and engineers with the passion, ideas and innovation to develop it.”

Mr Araujo also explained: “The pitch proves the potential and power when scientists and entrepreneurs focus their efforts to develop creative and innovative energy solutions. By tapping into the world’s passion and interest in football, we aim to capture the attention of youngsters around the world so they think differently about energy and the opportunity of science studies and careers.” 

Pelé who joined Shell to officially open the pitch, said: “Football is Brazil’s biggest passion and the sport has gone through so much technological innovation since the last time I played. This new pitch shows the extraordinary things possible when science and sport come together. The Morro da Mineira community will now be able to use this sports facility as a safe gathering place – all thanks to the floodlights powered by the community’s football players.”

The Morro da Mineira project is part of the Shell #makethefuture programme, which aims to inspire young people and entrepreneurs to look at science and engineering as a career choice, and particularly use their minds to develop energy solutions for the future of the planet. For more than 30 years, the international Shell LiveWIRE programme, alongside other Shell science, education and innovation programmes, has been a catalyst for young entrepreneurs and students to develop enterprising ideas into viable and sustainable businesses. The kinetic technology used at this football pitch has been developed by a grant recipient of the UK Shell LiveWIRE.