Award-winning footstep energy to help power shopping centre

by ClickGreen staff. Published Fri 23 Sep 2011 10:59
Shoppers at Westfield Stratford power the lights by walking
Shoppers at Westfield Stratford power the lights by walking

A young entrepreneur from South London has scooped a national award after developing paving slabs that convert kinetic energy from footsteps into renewable electricity.

After showcasing his invention at a London design show, Laurence Kemball-Cook secured his first order for Pavegen from Westfield Shopping Centre Stratford.

The slabs will be in the central crossing between the London 2012 Main Stadium and Westfield Stratford City where footfall from pedestrians will be highest, with the energy harnessed used to power lighting on site.

The Pavegen installation will be a key element helping Westfield achieve their strict targets for environmental sustainability.

Pavegen has already proved its environmental credentials through its first installation at a school in Kent last year. The slabs, installed in the busiest corridor of the Simon Langton Grammar School, power the lighting in the corridor during times of high footfall and have helped to reduce its electricity bill whilst also teaching pupils about sustainable technologies.

Eventually, with a larger scale roll out, the Pavegen system will aim to power over 50% of all the lighting within the school.

Laurence, aged 25, who created his first prototype as part of his degree in Industrial Design and Technology at Loughborough University, impressed the panel of judges in the Shell LiveWIRE Grand Ideas Awards with his business idea and has been awarded £1,000 to develop Pavegen Systems. Laurence is now also in the running for the £10,000 Shell LiveWIRE Young Entrepreneur of the Year 2011 award.

The monthly Shell LiveWIRE Grand Ideas Awards launched in 2009 and are designed to help young aspiring entrepreneurs get their business off the ground. The awards offer a no-strings-attached financial boost of £1,000 to entrepreneurs under 30 years old from across the UK.

Laurence said: “Developing a business is hard work – taking my idea from university project to commercial business plan has involved a lot of time and dedication. Having just left university, funding was a particular obstacle, so it’s good to remember that If you have a great business idea there are support programmes like Shell LiveWIRE that can help turn this into a reality.”

One of the most important aspects for Laurence is getting the Pavegen name established in the renewable energy market. In addition to the renewable energy generated, the slabs are constructed using a large proportion of recycled low carbon materials.

The top rubber surface is made from 100% reused lorry tyres, and the entire casing is made of recycled polymer, low carbon concrete. The manufacturing and assembly are also kept within 200 miles of their office, reducing the product’s environmental footprint.

Graham van't Hoff, Chairman of Shell UK, said: “There is a wealth of entrepreneurial talent in the UK and I hope other young entrepreneurs will be inspired by Laurence to capitalise on their own ideas. We wish Laurence every success and hope the Shell LiveWIRE Grand Ideas Award will help him to develop Pavegen into a truly great and successful business.”

Each month, the three Shell LiveWIRE Grand Ideas winners with the highest judges’ scores are automatically put through to the Shell LiveWIRE Young Entrepreneur of the Year competition, a yearly competition with a prize of £10,000. Applicants can submit their entries through the LiveWIRE website.

Shell has supported small enterprise in the UK since 1982. Shell is a support partner of the Start Up Britain Campaign by offering support to small UK businesses via Shell Livewire and Shell Springboard. Shell is also a founding partner of Entrepreneur First, the UK Government backed two year training scheme for graduates with the most promising business ideas.

Shell LiveWIRE, has been giving free support to would-be entrepreneurs since 1982. The programme hosts a business networking community at which enables the best business brains from across the UK to share ideas, insights and inspiration with fellow entrepreneurs who understand the challenges they are facing.

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