Many articles have written about the potential of using bioluminescence to light cities, but a French start-up, Glowee, is actually producing lights using bioluminescence and installing them. Glowee’s lights emit a turquoise blue light utilizing a marine bacterium gathered off the coast of France called Aliivibrio fischeri. The bacteria are stored inside saltwater-filled tubes, allowing them to circulate in a kind of luminous aquarium. Since the light is generated through internal biochemical processes that are part of the organism’s normal metabolism, running it requires almost no energy other than that needed to produce the food the bacteria consume. A mix of basic nutrients is added and air is pumped through the water to provide oxygen. To “turn off the lights”, the air is simply cut off, halting the process by sending the bacteria into an anaerobic state where it does not produce bioluminescence.\

While Glowee’s lights are currently only available in standard tubes for events, the company is planning to produce several types of street furniture, such as outdoor benches with in-built lighting, soon.

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