Bioluminescent Bacteria Could Light Up The Streets Of Paris

Sustainable energy is taking new heights, due to a French-based electricity company. The power of bioluminescent bacteria is now being harnessed to power public areas in Paris. This is all thanks to Glowee, a Parisian start-up, company. Glowee has plans to use bacteria that is usually found in squid to now light up store-fronts, installations, and public spaces. Glowee also hope to illuminate entire streets with these microbial light fixtures.

These lights consist of clear cases filled with a gel-like substance that contains bioluminescent bacteria. Along with the bacteria there is also oxygen and sugars that the bacteria need in order to survive. The best part of the bacterium is it is both non-toxic and non-pathogenic. And that is a lot more than most of our modern electricity sources can claim.

There are an immense number of atmospheric advantages in using these bio-lights. For one, there is a significantly less amount of carbon dioxide being emitted into the environment than any conventional ways. Therefore the number of greenhouse gases being emitted are considerably less. However, the company does not have any objective of replacing all electrically generated light. On the Glowee website, they claim, “All the energy generated is used in the light production process. It is also less intense, allowing [Glowee] to limit to effect of light pollution.”

It goes without saying, alongside any successes there are certain fallbacks, and Glowee’s bioluminescent bacteria lights are no exception. For example, their current model can only operate for three days at a time. But the company does hope to better this lifespan. There is also the question of cost efficiency and means of production, and thus could the bio-light ever rival our current and most common form of electricity? But there are also some constructive benefits: the casings for the lights are constructed of clear shells that can be trimmed and tailored to any size and shape easily. Moreover, these shells appear transparent during the daylight hours.

The incentive to create such a unique light came after a law in France was passed in July 2013. The law stated, that retailers and offices are forbidden from keeping their store-fronts lit during the early morning hours. The purpose of this law is to help put an end to energy over-consumption and light pollution. Considering Glowee’s bio-lights emit a soft non-invasive light that also won’t feed into France’s electricity grid, it seems to circumvent this law.

Currently, Glowee is now working on projects with various urban furniture companies, event companies, and also Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream. And so, in the near future it won’t be such a foreign idea to walk amongst helpful bacteria in the city of romance. 

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