Pavegen's paving slabs harness the energy from people's footsteps and convert it into electrical power, a concept that Kemball-Cook explained could have serious applications across the world, from retail to airports, first world cities to Brazilian favelas, even on board superyachts.
The idea came to him six years ago when working at energy company Eon. Kemball-Cook was tasked with coming up with a way to power street lights with solar and wind power. The concept didn't work because cities have too much shade and not enough wind, but it got him thinking about new ways to harness energy in cities in general.
Every footstep on a Pavegen tile generates seven watts of energy which is then stored in batteries to power lights. Kemball-Cook emphasised that the potential applications were enormous. The tiles could power anything from mobile phones to electric cars. Another exciting aspect of the tiles is their ability to capture the data of those walking on them though. "Data is, I believe, going to be the new oil," he predicted.
"We offer the ability to track people as the stand on the tiles, where they are going, when, whether they are male or female." Martin Redmayne suggested that the technology could be used as underfoot lighting on yachts and questions from the audience indicated that while the technology was currently harnessing the power of people in cities, it's potential on board and its potential to evolve is vast. "Harnessing energy from people walking is the easy part," agreed Kemball-Cook. "We are working on harnessing energy from the roads - speed bumps for example - and even shoes, doors, chairs ... There are multiple areas that we want to apply our patent."