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Glow-in-the-dark Trees Tapped to Replace Street Lights
April 21, 2014

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The future of street lights might be a bright one, naturally.

Dutch artist Daan Roosegaarde has proposed a scheme of bioluminescent trees to light up the streets. These trees that glow in the dark are not science fiction but science fact, the result of experiments carried out during a number of years in several countries, including the Netherlands and the United States.

A New York company, Bioglow, has produced a plant that emits a soft blue-green glow when placed in the dark. The plant is called Starlight Avatar, and the company has produced dozens of the plants, 20 of which were recently auctioned off for $800 each.

The plants have a limited lifespan, just three months at the most, and cannot be exposed to sunlight at all. That kind of resistance to natural light is something that would have to be factored into the creation of any kind of freestanding, in-nature tree that would be a substitute for street lights.

Roosegaarde owns one of the bioluminescent plants. A pioneer in the field, he and another Dutch visionary, helped create the world's first smart highway in their home country by painting over white lines on highways with photo-luminescent powder, to provide more light for drivers struggling to see in wintry conditions. On one stretch of road, the artists added large snowflakes, to warn drivers of black ice.

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