Pele Opens Shell’s Player-Powered Rio Soccer Pitch

Oil company ambassador Pele opened the world’s first player-powered football pitch in a Rio de Janeiro favela – a surface which uses human energy to generate electricity.


Built in the Rio community of Morro da Mineira, Sehll placed 200 kinetic tiles under the pitch to capture the kinetic energy created by the players’ movement and, combined with power generated by pitchside solar panels, turns the blended human/solar power into electricity for the ground’s new floodlights.


Thus Shell, which has also placed pitchside billboards around the sidelines, has provided infrastructure to light for this community space – ensuring it is a practical and a safe place to play well into the evening.



The Anglo-Dutch oil major worked on the project with Pavegen Systems – a technology company that has developed paving slabs to convert energy from people’s footsteps into electrical power – which was backed by a grant from Shell’s LiveWire programme.


Shell ambassador and global football icon Pele, who’s other ambassador deals stretch from Subway to VW and from Hublot to Emirates, as well as P&G Brazil, was on hand to open the pitch.



‘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,’ he commented.


‘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. I was named Edson, after Thomas Edison, because electricity had just been introduced to my hometown in Brazil when I was born. I am so proud of my name, and even more proud now.’


This project is part of Shell umbrella #makethefuture programme, which the energy giant claims is a platform to inspire young people and entrepreneurs to use science and engineering to develop energy solutions for the future of the planet.


’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,” says Shell Brazil chair Andre Araujo.


‘The pitch proves the potential and power when scientists and entrepreneurs focus their efforts to develop creative and innovative energy solutions.’




Whilst Shell and its ambassador and PR agency aim to present projects such as this was part of the company’s commitment to finding the right future energy mix and its annual $1.3bn research and development investment, others may feel that such Make The Future projects and their accompanying promotional campaigns and PR support are part of Shell’s distance itself from any current negativity around its own corporate image.


Particularly following Greenpeace’s recent anti Shell/Lego marketing partnership ‘ Everything Is Not Awesome’ campaign (see previous case study).




Shell Make The Future Website



Shell Make The Future YouTube



Shell Make The Future Twitter




Shell Player Powered Pitch YouTube



Shell Facebook



Pele Website



Featured Showcases