Glowing trees to replace streetlamps?

November 15, 2010

Here’s an idea straight out of science-fiction: trees altered to glow at night, bright enough to light your way:

Taiwanese researchers have come up with the elegant idea of replacing streetlights with trees, by implanting their leaves with gold nanoparticles. This causes the leaves to give off a red glow, lighting the road for passersby without the need for electric power. This ingenious triple threat of an idea could simultaneously reduce carbon emissions, cut electricity costs and reduce light pollution, without sacrificing the safety that streetlights bring.

Of course the idea has to be justified by fighting global warming (“reducing carbon emissions”), a problem that doesn’t exist, but I think it’s neat in itself, calling to mind science-fiction or fantasy art and having somewhat of a magical feel to it.

Critics will no doubt think of all sorts of problems, from the mundane (“Do the trees have to be injected each season?”) to the serious (“How much would this cost?”) to the hysterical (“You’re creating mutant trees!!”), but that’s for another day, should this ever come close to production. Right now, I just think it’s neat.

And the first housing development with glowing trees just has to be named “Lothlorien.”

Via Real Clear Science.