Plants illuminate the park: 'The Park of Tomorrow' is open
Imagine: you walk through a park in the evening, with fairy-tale lighting around you that responds to your presence. This park has been a reality in Rotterdam since 18 November. The municipality of Rotterdam developed an interactive green area in the Reyeroord district together with Plant-e company and designer Ermi van Oers (Nova Innova), where electricity-producing plants respond to the presence of passers-by. Small lights will twinkle on the plant stream as people pass.
Interactive lighting on plant stream in Reyeroord
Rotterdam is the first city in the world to realize a park with interactive lighting based on plant flow. In the Reyeroord district, residents looked at the layout of the green belt, from the type of planting to the benches. It is one of innovative projects in the IJsselmond district.
Alderman for enforcement, outdoor space, integration and living together, Bert Wijbenga: “In Reyeroord, we have opted for an approach that focuses on the wishes and dreams of residents. Here major developments from the city are translated to the street. From energy transition, climate adaptation, poverty alleviation to the implementation of the Environment Act. That is how we see Reyeroord as an exemplary neighborhood of the future. "
The Park of Tomorrow: where science and design meet
Living plants that produce electricity: it sounds futuristic, but it is already happening! Photosynthesis takes place in all plants. Plants produce sugar that they use for their own growth. However, part of these sugars is not used by the plant itself and is therefore excreted in the soil via the roots. Bacteria surround the roots that break down those sugars. During this process the bacteria release electrons as a waste product. Plant-e has found a way to harvest the electrons and use them as electricity. Green energy acquires a new meaning: during the production of electrons, CO becomes2 captured in the plant, or CO2 negative electricity production! This technology can be applied in any place in the world where plants are in moist soil. Marjolein Helder, CEO of Plant-e: “In the city of the future it is becoming increasingly important to take climate change into account and the surface on which you can take measures is very limited. With our products we can now link a number of climate functions - such as water storage, greening, lowering the ambient temperature - with lighting and social safety. ” Plant-e and designer Ermi van Oers saw the importance of a cross-fertilization between nature, science and design and entered into a collaboration. Ermi van Oers and her team are developing a new way to apply the greenest electricity and make it visible, resulting in a magical ambiance. Your presence in the park is noticed by the plants and lights will twinkle around you, on electricity from those plants. Designer Ermi van Oers: “Besides the fact that this technology is extremely high-tech, it is also very poetic. Because energy suddenly becomes alive and therefore brings people and nature closer together. When you walk through this green strip in the dark, you feel that the lighting is alive and allow yourself to be amazed again at the power of nature. ”
Invest in innovative projects
With the Park van Morgen, the municipality of Rotterdam, Plant-e and Ermi van Oers want to stimulate the use of green in the built environment and bring people more in contact with their environment. Nature must become an experience for passers-by, from which inspiration can be taken. Alderman Bert Wijbenga: “Investing in innovation is important. We do not yet know whether plants can really be used as an energy supplier in the future, but we are definitely making a start with this project. " The lighting may not always work, the alderman emphasizes: “Nature cannot be rushed; if the bacterial growth does not cooperate or the weather is disappointing, the lights may not work. That monitoring is also part of this exploration. "
The Park of Tomorrow needs the time to grow and start up. In the spring of 2020, the Park of Tomorrow must be a beautiful, mature fairy tale path.
The green belt is located in a part of the Heemtuin in Reyeroord, between the Korendijk and the Pilgrim Church. 'The Park of Tomorrow' was festively opened on November 18 by alderman Bert Wijbenga and spoken words artist YMP.
The Park van Morgen has now become a full-grown fairytale path. Regular pruning is now part of the maintenance of the entire Heemtuin in Reyeroord. The nearby rainwater buffer provides the Park van Morgen with a continuous water supply and a recent count has shown that the residents around the Park use the interactive illuminated fairytale path every day.
Even after completion, the Park van Morgen still received regular attention. A year after the opening of the park, the municipality of Rotterdam, Ermi van Oers and Plant-e made a podcast together about the potential of the technology. This podcast is here to listen. There is also one short film made about the park of Rotterdam. This film is produced by Nova Innova, the company of Ermi van Oers. In addition to all the media attention that the park receives, measurements are still being carried out on the technology on a regular basis, so that we can continue to improve it.