In nature, certain molecules interact, allowing living organisms to produce their light, such as fireflies, algae, and jellyfish. Taking inspiration from this, biologists Rose-Marie and Ghislain Auclair became interested in the bioluminescent potential of trees by envisioning the genetic modification of these trees to integrate these light-producing molecules into their genes.
They founded the startup Woodlight, with the goal of offering a sustainable public lighting solution capable of absorbing CO2, essentially a 2-in-1 solution. While the startup doesn’t aim to replace urban infrastructure, it plans to introduce these luminescent trees in secondary areas or as markers for various routes, such as parks and bike paths.
These genetically modified trees won’t be fertile, but their waste will be compostable. The commercial launch is expected in 2025. In the meantime, the founders are seeking funding to move from experimentation to implementation.