Could Future Cities Be Powered By Bioluminescent Bacteria?

Could Future Cities Be Powered By Bioluminescent Bacteria?

A bold startup points to a post-electricity future for our planet

Plus Aziz
  • 20 april 2016

People associate smart cities with technology but as genetic modification grows in its applications, organic and biological matter could play an increasingly important role as we see a blending of the technological and natural. Additionally, the presence of more green space in urban areas will open new doors for entrepreneurs and urban planners. One startup harnessing these trends is Glowee, a Paris-based group founded by Sandra Rey in a design competition, as their idea leverages synthetic biology in a refreshing manner with numerous implications for urban development.

As listed on the Glowee website, the company uses “the genes coding for bioluminescence for bacteria living in symbiosis with squids. They are inserted into common bacteria which are both non-toxic and non-pathogenic. Once we have engineered and grown these bacteria, they are encapsulated into a transparent shell, alongside a medium composed of the nutrients they need to live and make light.”

This is Glowee’s approach to creating a light source that sits “at the crossroads of biomimicry and synthetic biology.” The bio-inspired company embraces a vision to offer alternative power to help offset 19 percent of the world consumption’s of electric light, calling out how this innovation would be a great fit for people and places deprived of electricity as well. This vision ladders up to them wanting to manage five percent of the world’s greenhouse emissions.


+Bioluminescent Bacteria
+urban development

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