Written by Ryan Jebavy • December 19, 2016
The movement towards a more sustainable future comes in many guises. It also includes an element of collaboration between parties to get innovative ideas off the ground. The collaboration between the Shell #makethefuture campaign and superstar singer Akon, along with some bright new energy technologies, has taken this journey one step further in Lagos, Nigeria.
The singer’s sustainability initiative - Akon Lighting Africa - has been working to bring solar power to African villages since 2014, while the #makethefuture campaign from Shell has set out to put bright energy ideas into action and inspire sustainable energy innovation. In 2015, Akon and Shell began working together to champion sustainability and innovation around access to more and cleaner energy in Africa. A collaboration was a natural fit and resulted in a local activation to bring a sustainably powered soccer field to the Federal College of Education in Lagos. The installation builds on Shell’s previous successful installation of a solar- and people-powered soccer field in Rio de Janeiro in 2014.
Let’s geek out for a minute. Most of us at this point understand the concept of solar power—harnessing the energy of the sun to create electricity—but what about the concept of something powered by people? This power of movement is at the heart of the innovation of kinetic tiles, the brainchild of young British entrepreneur Laurence Kemball-Cook, founder of energy start-up Pavegen and a recipient of a 2011 Shell LiveWIRE Grand Ideas Award. Pavegen’s kinetic tiles convert the power of footsteps—kinetic energy—into usable electricity.
In the Lagos field, the kinetic energy produced by playing soccer is stored and combined with energy from solar panels to power the floodlights that light the field at night - creating a safe, versatile sports and community space. In conjunction with Shell, Akon and DJ Hardwerk visited Lagos to unveil the finished soccer field to the public and to perform a brand new track, “Tell Me We’re OK”, on the field. The event garnered major press and social media coverage, and Akon and DJ Hardwerk’s music video for the hit which showcases scenes from the Lagos visit, now has millions of views globally.
You can check it out here:
Much like the global artists championing sustainability and energy efficiency in Shell’s "Best Day of My Life" video, Akon has become a leading voice for current and future generations wanting to make a positive difference in the world by promoting cleaner and more abundant energy solutions. It’s a mission that Shell clearly supports. Follow the #makethefuture story by visiting the Shell Tumblr page here.