21 Mar 2013 10:03:10
Clean-tech university start-up wins top prize at leading sustainable business awards
An innovative flooring system that generates electricity from footsteps and which was dreamed-up at university, has just won its twenty five-year old inventor a top award at the UK’s leading ethical business awards.
Pavegen Systems, whose deceptively simple design flooring system converts the kinetic energy of footfall into electricity, was chosen by a committee of influential figures in the sustainable business community last night to win the ‘Big Idea’ category at the prestigious Ethical Business Awards, hosted by The Observer
newspaper on Thursday 9th June.
Accepting the £2,000 award from Chris Murray, the National Grid's Climate Change Champion for Transmission, Laurence Kemball-Cook, inventor of the innovative low-carbon energy solution and CEO of Pavegen Systems, said: "this award will really open doors for us. We are at a crucial stage as we grow the company from a start-up into a fully fledged deliverer of renewable energy solutions, and being under the spotlight means that even more of our potential partners will appreciate the very real opportunity that our low-carbon energy solution represents for towns and cities all over the world."
Kemball-Cook, an engineering graduate, was able to start his business with an award from his alma mater Loughborough University. Although only a young company, Pavegen’s low-carbon indoor and outdoor lighting technology has already won an order from Westfield for its new headline Olympic site in Stratford City – to be the largest urban shopping centre in Europe. Pavegen is a key element in helping them to achieve their strict targets for environmental sustainability. And in December 2010 Simon Langton school in Canterbury installed the energy-producing floor tiles in one of its busiest corridors.
This new award is only the latest in a long line of industry accolades that point to a rosy future for the enterprising twenty five year-old and his company. Last week French industry recognised Pavegen Systems, awarding the British company the CD2E runner-up prize for Eco-Innovation at the Salon-Environord EU Conference in Lille.
The hotly-tipped product has also won awards from bodies including the Technology Strategy Board and the Chartered Institute of Builders.
Being congratulated at the awards ceremony by Greg Barker, UK Energy and Climate Change Minister, Kemball-Cook took the opportunity to ask whether the recently rationalised feed-in tariffs scheme could include new technologies like Pavegen. The minister expressed enthusiasm for the technology and said that his team would look more closely at such technologies but did not commit to any revision of the policy.
The current Pavegen paving slab contains a low-energy LED which lights up, communicating the energy transfer idea to the user but only consuming around 5 per cent of the energy from each footstep. The rest of the energy can then be stored in an on-board battery or diverted to any chosen device. Future applications might include charging points for electric cars or personal devices such as smart phones.
Kemball-Cook is keen to exploit his patented technology on roads and is working on a prototype system that will harvest the energy from lorries and cars on motorways and in cities to power street furniture such as lighting and LED information boards.