A lot of places have switched to LED lighting, which is the most energy-efficient lighting currently available. However, if we can find a renewable energy source for lighting then it is going to prove more beneficial for our planet.
Researchers at the Technical University of Denmark have found bioluminescent microalgae exist throughout warm parts of the world’s oceans. The source of the bioluminescence is two molecules: luciferase (an enzyme) and luciferin (a molecule produced by photosynthesis). These molecules are activated by a chemical reaction triggered by movement such as the crashing of waves upon the shore or a passing fish. As this reaction occurs, the algae emit a blue light although only for a moment.
As per the research team, genes for bioluminescence could be isolated and then transferred to other, larger plant organisms and used to generate a continual source of blue light at night. An algae-based lamp would work like a solar cell and battery storage combo where solar energy during the day is converted into fuel for the organism which it stores and then uses to emit blue light at night.
In case these genes are transferred successfully, these bio-lamps could be installed to light up parking garages, buildings, shop windows and highways. The resulting light will be a bluish hue, which will transform the way our cities and towns look at night. Moreover, it will also be an electricity-free and carbon-neutral source of light.
The researchers are trying to isolate those genes that cause bioluminescence. The next step would be figuring out how to transfer those genes and then cause the plants to emit light continually during the night and without the trigger of movement.