Walking into the park, illuminated by plants, was like stepping into a fairytale wonderland. Trees and shrubs grew everywhere, yet each had an eerie glow coming from within. I felt like Alice in Wonderland, surrounded by the unknown.
Can the lighting in a city park be powered by plants? As it turns out, yes. We can transform an everyday city park into a magical, green, interactive experience. Who generates the electricity? Plants. Thus was implemented the first-of-its-kind plant-lit park.
It is called The Park of Tomorrow. It is a green strip in the IJsselmonde district of Reyeroord (The Netherlands). The plants produce electricity day and night. But, of course, the light has the greatest effect in the afternoon and evening. How?
Plants produce organic matter through photosynthesis. Some of this material is not needed by the plant and is expelled into the soil by the roots. The soil contains bacteria that decompose this material and release electrons during that decomposition. These electrons are then captured and transported through a wire. This allows them to be used as electricity for lights.
“This technology is extremely high-tech. The energy suddenly comes alive and brings people and nature closer together. When you walk along this green strip in the dark, you feel that the lighting is alive.” So said designer Ermi van Oers.
As a result, they used the city’s surface area as efficiently as possible. And they reduced greenhouse gas emissions while creating light.
“Here the main developments in the city are transferred to the street. From energy transition, climate adaptation, etc. We see Reyeroord as an exemplary neighborhood of the future.”
The idea of having electric power through plants is innovative. It is in a period of research and development. It depends on many factors and one of the most important is the climate. The plant-lit park is the first of its kind.
Rotterdam is a truly modern city. It integrates new technologies into the city and always aims to innovate for tomorrow. The park continues to receive media attention; a podcast was recorded about it after its completion. Wouldn’t it be great to have such a park in every city?