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Glowee... Let there be light!

  • Serial Ululer
  • Book Lover
  • Writer

“What if we didn’t need electricity to produce light?” Weird question. And yet, this issue might become one of the most burning ones in the years to come. All around the world, alternatives are already flourishing. Water, plants, even Javel, “un-electric” solutions are booming in a serious way… or not.

At Ulule, we were very proud when Glowee chose us as a crowdfunding platform for their financing. Being one of the team’s favorites, little owl’s favorite, and many investors’ favorite, all we can hope for is that they will soon become the French’s favorite!

So, what’s Glowee?

It’s a bioluminescent revolution. It’s the strong belief that other solutions exist, more mindful of our environment. In other words: Glowee offers a 100% green public lighting system made of luminescent organisms. No more electricity waste: a natural light that takes advantage of the micro-organisms’ luminescent properties.

A biological project that can be hard to understand for the public and media. “Some media twisted our words, like a journal that ran as a headline “Fireflies used to produce electricity”. We got tons of mails accusing us of exploiting animals!” Though that misunderstanding may seem trivial, it affects the Glowee team. No, they don’t trap animals in lightbulbs. They just use the bioluminescence of some aquatic bacterium. A harmless, sustainable process; bioluminescence is a natural and non-polluant light.

“It’s one of the reasons that made us choose crowdfunding. We needed a support to explain our project to the public. It forced us to outline our communication, our visuals, but also to put our message out there in a more intelligible way.

Mission accomplished. Full of pictures and mainstream-oriented, Glowee’s campaign has made the painstaking work of their biologists understandable for everyone.


Who is Glowee?

Sandra Rey and Maëlle Chassard, two design students. “We started our project in design school. The feedbacks were very positive, so we took part in the ArtScience Awards.” A first victory for Glowee that marked the beginning of an important gain of visibility. Sales were booming and the young pair of students were suddenly aware of the general interest raised by what was more than a student project.

But how are two design students drawn to bioluminescence?

“We were watching a documentary on seabeds and saw that some fishes produce their own light. It rang a bell with the contest’s theme: synthetic biology.” Since then, the team has got bigger and fully dedicated to making the Glowee project a reality. The CRI (Center for Research and Interdisciplinarity) has opened the doors of a laboratory and their biology intern has proven the project’s feasibility. With many awards won, one thing leading to another, the first investors are coming, enabling the recruitment of a team.

Why is Glowee so important?

At the beginning, the idea was to light shops’ showcases. The product is an adhesive bracket for glass surfaces, transparent during the day and luminescent at night, entirely customizable and adaptable. Perfect for shops that are forbidden to light their showcases between 1 and 7 a.m.

But today, Glowee wants to take things a step further. Depending on their financing and development, the talented youth team wants to expand the Glowee solution to the entire public city lighting: street furniture, signs, monuments, etc.

In France, 12% of electricity consumption comes from public lighting and 45% of the furniture is obsolete. A real challenge for sustainable development: renewing the public lighting while reducing electrical consumption. The Ulule campaign also gave Glowee the opportunity to expand their community. Gathering more than 500 backers, the project created a group of true fans and raised the medias’ interest.

Since the campaign, things have been going on nicely for Glowee. They got a beautiful website, and last month, the team was invited at the Universal Exposition in Astana, Kazakhstan, in the Best Energy Practice pavillion, to present their luminous innovation. The future of the light has never looked brighter.  

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