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Graduate’s cleantech firm to convert runners’ footsteps into electricity at Paris Marathon

Schneider Electric, the global specialist in energy management, has commissioned Pavegen, the award-winning cleantech firm founded by a Loughborough University graduate, to capture the kinetic energy generated at the Schneider Electric Paris Marathon on Sunday 7 April. This will be the largest ever install of Pavegen Systems’ unique technology; comprising over 25 metres of energy harvesting tiles on the runner’s course, spectator-viewing platforms, and at other key points along the route.

Pavegen Systems’ CEO and inventor, Laurence Kemball-Cook, started to develop his ground-breaking technology whilst studying Industrial Design and Technology at Loughborough. Since graduating in 2009, Kemball-Cook’s company has raised investment, won a string of eco and design awards and secured patents in eight countries. Pavegen employs 25 people in its London HQ and works with agents worldwide to deliver installations ranging from the Olympic Westfield site and the BBC’s new HQ in London to offices in Chile, Sydney University and a dance floor in Singapore to mark Earth Hour 2013.

Pavegen’s innovative design converts the kinetic energy of footfall into electricity that is stored in a battery or used to power various applications such as street lighting, advertising, information displays, and communications technology. The Pavegen tiles flex 5mm when stepped on, converting up to 8 watts of kinetic energy over the duration of the footstep, i.e. 8 joules.

Pavegen tiles contain wireless technology that transmits data on renewable energy amounts generated by each unit. This information can be sent to any designated website for access by smartphone or computer. During the Paris Marathon, the data will be displayed on giant screens at strategic points along the street course. Pavegen tiles will span the Champs-Élysées and also feature at the Running Expo which will attract high footfall from spectators as well as all competitors.

Laurence Kemball-Cook said: “Pavegen could play a key role in the smart cities of the future. Imagine if your run or walk to work could help to power the lights for your return journey home in the evening. The marathon installation will help more communities and organisations see the opportunity for a viable new type of off-grid energy technology that people love to use and which can make a low-carbon contribution wherever there is high footfall, regardless of the weather.” 

He continued “our partners in the energy and infrastructure community have been quick to grasp the potential of a system that can be seamlessly integrated into existing architecture to generate electricity, without being connected to the grid.”

Professor Steve Rothberg, Pro Vice Chancellor for Enterprise at Loughborough University said: "Laurence is an outstanding ambassador for graduate enterprise. We recognised the merits of Pavegen in our Enterprise Awards in 2010 and in 2012 he won the Santander Universities Entrepreneurship Undergraduate Award.  The Paris Marathon will provide an outstanding opportunity to showcase the potential of this innovative technology.”

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