Lighting powered by plants in Rotterdam


The City of Rotterdam inaugurated ‘The Park of Tomorrow’: a park with interactive lighting powered by plants on 18 November 2019.

The park, located in the Reyeroord district of Rotterdam, will have electricity-producing plants that respond to the presence of pedestrians by twinkling when they pass by.

The municipality of Rotterdam collaborated with Plant-e and designer Ermi van Oers (Nova Innova) for this initiative, the fisrt of its kind in the world.



“Investing in innovation is important.”

The Park of Tomorrow is a means for the municipality Rotterdam to stimulate the use of more greenery in urban areas and to create a stronger connection between people and their surroundings.

As Councilor of Outdoor Spaces, Integration and Society, Bert Wijbenga, explains:

Investing in innovation is important. If plants are really a feasible option as future power source is yet to be determined, but with this project, we are getting a head start. The light might not work all the time,” the councilor emphasizes.

He adds:

“Nature won’t be rushed; if the bacteria are not growing fast enough or the weather is bad, the lights might not work. Monitoring this is part of the experience.”

Residents of Reyeroord had a voice on everything, from the plants to the benches, in designing the green area.


How does it work?

All plants photosynthesize.  Through photosynthesis  sugars are produced that the plant uses for growth. Some of these sugars are not used by the plants and are excreted into the soil through the plant’s root system. In the soil around the roots bacteria breakdown the access sugars secreted by the plant. During this process, the bacteria release electrons as a waste product. Plant-e found a method to harvest the electrons and use them for electricity. In fact, green electricity is redefined: during production of electrons, CO2 is captured in the plants, resulting in CO2 negative electricity production! This technology can be used anywhere in the world, the only prerequisite is that the plants live in wet soil.


The Park of Tomorrow needs time to grow and boot-up. During spring 2020 the Park of Tomorrow should be a stunning fairytale road.

If you are in Rotterdam and want to take a look: the park is located in a part of the Heemtuin in Reyeroord, between de Korendijk en de Pelgrimskerk.




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Images © City of Rotterdam




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