“Living in busy cities, I could see the energy in people, and I was determined to find a way to harness it.”
Where the rest of us see people walking, engineer Laurence Kemball-Cook sees kinetic energy. It’s exciting, but untapped as a source of energy. So, when he graduated from Loughborough University in the U.K. at age 22, he founded Pavegen Systems to develop technology that would bring energy not only to the masses, but from them.
“Living in busy cities, I could see the energy in people, and I was determined to find a way to harness it,” Kemball-Cook says.
Today, the company develops paving slabs that convert the energy from people’s footsteps into electrical power. Take the Mercury Mall shopping center in East London that sees more than 8,000 shoppers daily. Walking over the Pavegen’s kinetic concrete installed there, each pedestrian step generates up to seven watts of power, which Pavegen harvests to power part of the complex. Since it was founded, Pavegen has installed more than two hundred activation sites globally.
The seed money for Pavegen came from a £5,000 prize from the Royal Society of Arts, which was followed by £500,000 from London-based angel investors over the next five years. Last year, Pavegen surpassed its £950,000 crowdfunding target, raising £2.6 million from backers including the Hinduja Group.
Kemball-Cook believes that one thing that makes Pavegen stand out is its focus on humans. “Pavegen puts people at the heart of our technology so they can individually contribute to change. We believe in making people the solution, which motivates for bigger change,” he says. “We are not offering an alternative to alternative energy. We are a source of energy that delights citizens and induces behavioral change.”