3 London Startups Creating Renewable Energy

Earlier this month ‘Make the Future London’, a four day festival, took place in London. The festival provided the opportunity for inventors and innovators to showcase their best and brightest energy ideas.

Here are three exciting startups that impressed with their renewable energy efforts at the festival:

1. Pavegen


Having started up with only four employees, this Brixton-born startup has since developed flooring technology which converts wasted kinetic energy arising from human footfall and turns it into renewable energy. Originally founded in 2009 by entrepreneur Laurence Kemball-Cook, the startup’s technology enables applications such as signage, lighting and communications networks, to be powered up.

Having secured funding from various sources, including from the Shell Live WIRE Grand Ideas Award fund and the Shell Springboard 2013 finals, the startup has now installed its flooring tiles all over the world, across 22 countries.

Heathrow Terminal 3’s “Walk the Light” is one such example where you can see Pavegen’s LED light technology lighting up a busy corridor. The startup has also used its flooring technology in Brazil and Nigeria, where it worked with Shell to install a couple of football pitches; the first in Morro da Miniera in Rio de Janeiro and the second in Lagos. The kinetic tiles were placed under the football pitches, and then with a little help from solar power, are lit up when it is dark.

With 40 permanent employees located all over the globe, the startup’s most certainly on the road to success! 

2. GravityLight


In 2015, London startup Deciwatt won the Shell Springboard grant with their invention GravityLight. Invented by designers Jim Reeves and Martin Riddiford, the startup uses gravity to power lamps. It is now the hope of the GravityLight Foundation to bring sustainable lighting to the billions of people in the world that don’t currently have access to electricity.

The GravityLight technology uses the gravity force of a descending 12 kg bag to power LED lights. The bag is threaded through a patented electricity-generating device, which is lifted up and then on its descent creates enough electricity to generate 20 minutes of light.

The invention is impressive for it holds none of the risks that are usually associated with the current electricity alternatives, including house fire, burns or any of the illnesses that are associated with kerosene. GravityLight could therefore make a huge difference to billions of people and help guarantee a safer and more sustainable, bright future.

3. bio-bean


Arthur Kay, the CEO of bio-bean first came up with his startup idea in 2013 whilst studying architecture at The Bartless, UCL. Upon being tasked with designing a coffee shop, Kay’s realisation that a lot of coffee was being wasted enabled him to come up with a great and innovative solution.

The solution came about in the form of the oily sheen that formed atop of coffee left out overnight. Kay’s research showed that the oily coffee residue was extremely high in calories and could, therefore, be an excellent source of power – a sustainable power source!

Three years down the line, Kay’s startup is going from strength to strength, winning various awards for its clean technology, as well as funding from the Shell Springboard programme.  The startup now works with a variety of organisations, including coffee factories and shops, restaurants and workplaces to collect the waste and then manufactures solid and liquid biofuel pellets.

The startup now has its own factory, and can process 50,000 tonnes a year, which amounts to the waste from one in ten cups of coffee,  and it can produce biofuel pellets which can be used for renewable heating, or even for biodiesel.