As the global campaign against fossil fuels gathers momentum, Ejiofor Alike reviews Shellâ€™s make-the-future campaign launched exactly a year ago in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, which seeks to demonstrate that innovation can bring about a brighter future, with more and cleaner energy
As part of the global campaign to reduce air pollution, countries of the world are increasingly seeking sustainable alternative energy solutions that are free from fossil fuels.
For instance, China, UK, Germany, France, India, Norway and Netherlands have unveiled plans to ban fossil fuel-run cars.
The UK was the latest European country to mark the end of the line for diesel and gasoline fueled cars.
UKâ€™s decision followed stringent European Union emission rules that the country must obey even as it is set to leave the EU.
The UK government said it would ban sales of the vehicles by 2040, barely two weeks after France announced a similar plan as part of the countryâ€™s efforts to reduce air pollution and become a carbon-neutral nation.
Vehicle manufacturers had raised the alarm that outright bans could threaten over 800,000 jobs across the UK alone.
Vehicle manufacturers, such as Volvo, target to build electric vehicles to avoid the consequences of being left behind.
While Daimler AG, manufacturers of Mercedes-Benz cars, plans to shore up diesel, since it powers many of its lucrative sport utility vehicles, other manufacturers are reportedly embracing the new reality.
For instance, Swedenâ€™s Volvo Car Group said that by 2019 all of its cars would be equipped with an electric motor.
Similarly, BMW AG has unveiled plan to build an electric version of its iconic Mini compact car in Britain.
But to avoid massive job losses, Germany is looking for ways to reduce automotive emissions without moving toward an outright ban on vehicles with combustion engines
Shellâ€™s make-the-future campaign
Shell, a global oil giant, is promoting business ideas to provide more affordable source of lighting for the worldâ€™s poorest families by encouraging investments in lamps powered by gravity; harvesting the air turbulence electric cars cause alongside motorways to charge the cars; use of barbecue fuel briquettes made from used coffee beans to provide clean energy solution and constructing football floodlights powered by the playersâ€™ runs on the pitch.
Exactly a year ago, these sustainable business ideas, including kinetic-energy producing football pitches and weight-powered lights were showcased in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil where the oil giant gathered pop stars in a campaign to #makethefuture.
Nigeriaâ€™s multiple award-winning Yemi Alade; British singer, Pixie Lott and Brazilâ€™s Luan Santana were the global artists that promoted the event held at Santa Marta Favela.
With these artists, Shell was able to deliver the message that positive change was possible because like many Favelas in Rio, Santa Marta, a community of over 5,000 residents, was off the national grid 20 years ago.
According to reports, armed gangs also controlled the area as there were no investments to provide employment opportunities and residents stole electricity by tapping high tension lines.
However, the story changed by the end of 2015 when Shell initiated the pilot project to build solar power to favela communities.
Shell sponsored Insolar where more than 150 photovoltaic cells were installed on buildings for the use of the communities.
For example, the oil giant sponsored the installation of blue panels on the creche, samba school and residentsâ€™ association.
Shell also planned to invest in solar trees, where the residents can charge mobile phones in the future.
With these solar panels, the creche gets 70 per cent of its energy needs, which amounts to huge savings in electricity bills.
Also under the make-the-future campaign, Pavegen, a UK company built the worldâ€™s first player-powered football pitch at Rioâ€™s Morro da Mineira favela in 2014, which was sponsored by Shell and inaugurated by football legend, Pele.
The kinetic pitch was built in such a way that each step by a player on the kinetic energy panels laid under the playing surface generates about five watts of electricity, depending on the playerâ€™s weight, and this can power floodlights for several hours.
Other innovative solutions sponsored by Shell include: Capture Mobility, a firm that produces roadside turbines that generate energy from the air turbulence caused by passing cars.
These sophisticated devices also tap solar power and use filters to remove harmful pollutants from vehicle emissions.
The firm started in Pakistan in 2015 and moved to Edinburgh where it planned four major pilot projects, including one in Germany that will use the collected power to charge electric cars.
Under the make-the-future, Shell also sponsored Gravity Light, a UK-based firm, which seeks to provide power with a ceiling winch and a bag of sand or stones â€“ to the one in seven homes in the world that lack electricity.
What the users need to do is pull the weight up to let it fall and when it is falling, it turns a small turbine that can power an LED light (or a radio) for up to 25 minutes.
There was also the China-based MotionEco, which turns used cooking oil into diesel, thereby reducing the public health threat of a product that was previously scooped out of gutters and reused for food.
Also UK-based Bio-Bean collects industrial quantities of used coffee and extracts essential oils and biodiesel and then uses what is left to make fuel briquettes that are cheaper and burns longer than wood.
Impact in Nigeria and globally
Indeed, the answers to tomorrowâ€™s energy solutions lie in the innovative efforts of various industries across the globe.
As the world continues to evolve technologically, several initiatives have been put in place to support innovation in Africa and the rest of the world.
The demand for energy is constant and it is important that developing communities have access to solutions that are economic, sustainable and environmentally viable.
The â€˜make the futureâ€™ campaign is an initiative by Shell that seeks to address some of the energy challenges faced in small communities and alternative renewable energy solutions to support already existing fuels in advanced cities. The campaign has ensured a more efficient and sustainable use of energy and natural resources with techniques that help meet worldwide demand for energy.
Shell, through the power of ideas, has shown a huge impact on enterprise development, education, football and innovation in Nigeria.
The future of energy is buzzing in the heart of Lagos, improving the lives and safety of those in the community through advanced technology and alternative energy.
In November 2015, Shell in collaboration with global music star Akon, unveiled Africaâ€™s first human and solar powered football pitch at the Federal College of Education (Technical), Akoka, Lagos and this encourages student footballers who train at night when it is dark, after the day at school.
The pitch uses Pavegen tiles invented by young British entrepreneur and Shell LiveWIRE beneficiary, Laurence Kemball-Cook, to convert power from footsteps into renewable that lights the pitch at night.
Shell also began to introduce lights that can be powered by gravity as a means to save cost, while creating a greener environment for all.
The â€˜make the futureâ€™ projects have shown that though Nigeria may be challenged by lack of power supply, one bright idea can light up lives and enable progress.
It also emphasises that energy can be reliable, and plays a major role in driving human progress in Nigeria.
The most fascinating of these initiatives is the Bio-bean. Innovation has shown that waste from coffee taken each day, can indeed power up the entire planet as sustainable transport fuel.
Every year, tonnes of coffee waste produced by coffee factories and coffee shops are taken for incineration. But bio-bean has discovered the possibility of turning these waste grounds into an effective biofuel to power buses and pellets of fuel for heating buildings.
This inventiveness abets saving money on waste disposal, reducing landfill waste and displacing fossil fuels. On November 20, 2017, the Shell Bio-bean initiative was launched in central London Bus station where bio fuel was used to power the London buses.
Shell is not only looking for more ways to provide socio-economic amenities, it is using innovative technologies and ideas to do so.
Shell has found a means to engage recycling technology, and so many industries have seen the importance of by-products of waste. More jobs are being created in the process, as more hands are needed in the areas of research, production, and management of renewables such as biofuels made from waste.
Shell has also inventively embraced the renewable energy as a viable source of power as it is naturally replenished and does not emit harmful substances.
In the long run, these exciting technologies have exposed developing communities to never-before-seen solutions, improving their standards of living and encouraging an interest in creating solutions of their own. These solutions are clean, and ensure a greener world when fully implemented.
Through the make the future initiatives, it is evident that these ideas will not only bring lasting solutions to the growing demand for energy in our fast-changing world, but also provide energy in the cleanest possible form. Shell has ensured the need to have a cleaner environment, and has incorporated this by means of renewable energy and biodiesel.
In an estimated number of years, solutions such as the bio-bean will serve as a viable, cost-effective fuel to be used for a range of different appliances. Bio-bean is founded on the premise that there is no such thing as waste, just resources in the wrong place.
As Shell continues to make the future brighter, it is exciting, discovering smart ideas like buses powered by biofuel from coffee waste; cars that drive themselves; ferries powered by liquefied gas; or even kites that give off electricity.
Shellâ€™s initiatives, ranging from recycling technology to gravity-powered illumination prove that innovation can bring about a brighter future, with more and cleaner energy.