Circular Lighting Report

French start-up set to commercialise bioluminescence

bioluminescence sea

A French company is planning to commercialise bioluminescence as an alternative to artificial light.

Glowee focuses on producing versions of urban furniture which currently include some sort of artificial lighting technology – such as signage and ambient lighting – that instead incorporate an appropriately sized and shaped tank of bioluminescent bacteria.

The result is an ethereal, natural glow that adds an enchanting ambience to the urban environment.

Founder Sandra Rey says: ‘The goal behind using this light is to reduce the impact of light pollution on biodiversity, to have a light that is more respectful to creatures like insects and birds.

‘We’re developing a living raw material made from naturally bioluminescent marine bacteria that can be easily cultivated indefinitely in the laboratory. We improve these non-pathogenic and non-toxic bacteria, without genetic modifications, to make them more efficient in terms of light production such as intensity, stability and efficiency.’

Once the raw material has been created, the company develops suitable products to integrate the liquid light into.

The firm’s first major project is in Rambouillet outside Paris. The contract is to experiment with the first bioluminescent signage panels.

The goals of the pilot project are to validate the use of bioluminescent to guide and energise a place, measure public feedbacks of the technology and define a development plan to progressively design fully bioluminescent cities.

‘We want to be the full-scale lab to explore bioluminescence role in the city’, said Nicolas Pollet, technical director of the municipality of Rambouillet

‘Bioluminescence in the public realm creates attractiveness, conviviality and a security feeling to a given space,’ say Rey. ‘The goal is to reduce the negative effects of lighting and visual pollution.’

‘Our intention is to bring nature back to the city by creating a special link with its lighting system, to awaken citizens to the power of nature and to drive a change in consumption methods through a new, less aggressive and more harmonious lighting philosophy.’

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Ray Molony

Recolight Report is an independent guide to the latest developments in sustainable and circular lighting. Learn about the people, products, projects and processes that are shaping our industry’s low carbon future. Plus: explainers on the latest innovations, opinion from thought leaders and video interviews with leading disruptors. Edited by lighting expert, editor and industry figure Ray Molony.