Glow-in-the-dark trees eyed for street lighting

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In Denmark, a startup named Allumen is looking to turn trees into street lights by inserting genes for bioluminescence.

In theory, the trees could replace expensive street lights that require frequent maintenance and consume energy.

“The real advantage of changing to a biological system is that the algae, for example, or the plant, they only need CO2 and sunlight and some water,” Kristian Ejlsted, CEO of Allumen, tells Fast Company. Glowing trees could also help buoy the plant nursery industry, which has suffered in the wake of the housing crisis, find a new, functional growth product.

While cool in concept, glow-in-the-dark plants have not been easy to develop in practice. A previous project by Glowing Plant raised $480,000 in a Kickstarter campaign, but failed after only being able to produce plants that gave off a dim glow.