Bioluminescence is the science of tiny, light-emitting plankton — and it might be a source of sustainable, zero-energy lighting if harnessed at scale. That’s what PyroFarms hopes for, anyway.
A report from Grit Daily recently covered the company. It explored how they harness bioluminescent dinoflagellates, the glowing things, to create small, focused light sources which use photosynethesis to convert light into energy.
Basically, they absorb daylight and use that energy to biochemically create light after dark.
The company says “PyroDinos have a ‘circadian clock’ similar to you and I and perform photosynthesis during daytime hours and only produce the light-emitting compounds during their dark cycle at night.”
More from the Grit Daily post:
Dinoflagellates are living organisms so the care and maintenance of the PyroDinos are extremely important to maintain life. PyroDinos cannot be placed in direct sunlight so the ideal place is near a closed window. Placing the PyroDinos in high or direct sunlight may harm them.
They require daily sunlight, along with consistent temperature to survive. Their ideal survival temp is between 63F and 79F. If they do not receive the necessary daily light at the correct temperature, they will not survive any more than 4 or 5 days.
Are there any realistic use cases in commercial settings?
At this point, using bioluminescence in any large-scale commercial setting seems a bit farfetched, but hold your judgmental -horses! I think I’ve figured out a pretty obvious use case — hear me out.
The PyroFarms critters only emit light at night, yes? They charge via the daylight. Check.
So what about outdoor areas near a building (in which you’d need to house these temperature-sensitive beings) which need to be monitored? Parking lots, loading docks, property grounds, storefronts… etc. are all examples of spaces which typically require traditional lighting that is often far too bright and energy-hording for monitoring purposes.
Wouldn’t bioluminescent dinoflagellates be ideal in some of these settings? Never mind the more creative use cases such as in escape rooms, esports center hallways, museums, venues, etc.
Do you manage any spaces where something like this could potentially be used at scale? Let us know in the comments below.