Starpath spray-on coating lights up the road


October 21, 2013

UK company Pro-Teq's glow-in-the-dark spray coating could prove a cheaper alternative to conventional street lighting (Photo: Pro-Teq)

UK company Pro-Teq's glow-in-the-dark spray coating could prove a cheaper alternative to conventional street lighting (Photo: Pro-Teq)

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UK company Pro-Teq has developed a new water-resistant, spray-on coating that absorbs UV light during the day and releases it at night, adapting to the lighting conditions in its surroundings. The technology is being given a test run at the Christ's Pieces park in Cambridge, and could prove a cost effective alternative to conventional street lighting.

We're used to seeing solar-harvesting technology being installed primarily on rooftops, but other sufficiently irradiated surfaces, including sidewalks, are also being explored for their energy harvesting potential.

Starpath doesn't produce electricity, but it does offer a possible alternative to street lighting, with very low installation and maintenance costs, as it can be just sprayed onto an existing surface and then further coated to make it waterproof. According to the company, the coating absorbs and stores UV light during the day and releases it at night, when its particles are able to adjust to the available natural light, and glow with the appropriate level of intensity.

The coating is currently being trialled in Christ’s Pieces, a park in the center of Cambridge, UK, where it has been sprayed on a total area of 150 sq m (1,600 sq ft). Pro-Teq says the coating took only 30 minutes to apply, with the surface being ready for use after only four hours.

"Our surface works best over tarmac or concrete, predominantly tarmac, which is the main bulk of the UK path network," explains Pro-Teq sales director Neil Blackmore. "When it's coming to the end of its useful life, we can rejuvenate it with our system, creating not only a practical, but a decorative finish."

Starpath has anti-slip properties, and can help users avoid collisions at night, without resorting to artificially-painted lines to divide the path. The coating is also non-reflective, and the company website lists a choice of 11 different colors. On the flipside, problems might be encountered during the winter months, with less light available during the day and the possibility of snow blocking out light from the path.

The video below details how the resurfacing technology works and explains how quickly the coating can be laid out onto a path.

Source: Pro-Teq

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Dario Borghino Dario studied software engineering at the Polytechnic University of Turin. When he isn't writing for Gizmag he is usually traveling the world on a whim, working on an AI-guided automated trading system, or chasing his dream to become the next European thumbwrestling champion. All articles by Dario Borghino

How long until I can spray my house!!!?

James Davis

In places that don't have snow, it could be a good thing year round.

Since it comes in colors, I can see how one could paint stripes and divide using colors. One could create designs that might only show up at night?

I think it has a lot of potential.


....And just how resistant to abrasion is it? In places like Ohio, we have plenty of snow, and a legal requirement to clean the snow off all sidewalks just after snowfall. (We can be ticketed after a reasonable interval, if the snow is not cleared.) So it must be able to withstand snow shovels, and snow blowers,


Won't this stuff degrade with time?? Considering the constant heat of the Sun thus the the concrete and tarmac get really hot at noon..... how long before you can apply another coat

Durojaiye Philips

How about radiation? I remember the pale yellow light emitting stuff on our old watches that was in fact a radio active material. Is this stuff also radio active?

How much light does it give during the night and how long? The images don't show any pitch black night as an example

Vincent Bevort

We spray painted glow in thedark paint to a sailing boats hull 4 years ago and it is still like new and lights up for 14 hours after sunset

Gideon Goudsmit

This stuff could be brilliant for reducing light pollution, which affects everthing from astronomy to wildlife, if its application is accompanied by a corresponding reduction in wasteful streetlighting.

Readout Noise

I love direct ways of utilising energy resources without first needing to convert to electricity.


Looks like there is allot of material used in this process, seems solar is a cheaper choice, but I can see this being used where light pollution is a problem I could only imagine driving on streets would look like? cars lights would help regenerate it, I think it would take some getting used to. also could be used for advertising in huge parking lots, like Disney, it could be seen by air travelers.. cool product, nice work guys.

Jay Finke

Impact of all those toxic chemicals washing at some point into the environment?

Brendan Dunphy

Would love to have this on my driveway and even as a resurfacing for my in ground concrete pool. Wonder if enough UV would get through to light the bottom of the deep end.

Bryan Paschke

Replace streetlights? Seriously? Maybe rural England has no crime (although I doubt it), but this is NOT a replacement for streetlights except in rare circumstances.

This coating may keep you from walking off the path in the dark, but streetlights do a lot more than that. This product sets up the perfect environment for crime: one where the criminals can easily hid in the dark, while their targets are brightly highlighted.

Do the inventors of this product have even a modicum of common sense? Apparently not. Replace streetlights? Hogwash.


Kinda reminds me of Sheldon and his painted-on glow-in-the-dark makers in the apartment showing the way to the door in the dark!


It would make fantastic grafitti too.

Nick Campbell

I'd like to have this as a coating for actual roads. This would allow me to see where the whole road is even beyond my headlights. Anything sitting on the road would be visible as a void in the sea of tiny pricks of light. They'd have to paint it on a little thicker, probably, but at least having this on (or in) the painted lines would really help when driving country roads at night.

Joel Detrow

Wonder how well this would work after a winter of having rock salt grit continually applied to it? Tends to dull shiny new road surfaces in no time.

Also, current wisdom on surfacing roads in the UK is to use porous tarmac to allow surface water to drain through it, not just to flow into the nearest drain. Waterproofing the road surface would negate that.

Further, wouldn't the roughened 'anti-slip' coating effectively form a 'key' for snow and ice to bond more readily to the surface, making it actually more dangerous in winter?

In our area LED streetlights are being trialled, which are a very low energy alternative to standard sodium street lighting- and refitting existing streetlights is far less disruptive than having to close roads for several hours whilst they are being treated.


My experience with most of such glow in the dark phosphors is aging and loss of energy storing / converting capabilities. In any case These would certainly go a long way in conservation. Most streets are already lit by conventional lighting. If this technology can help in turning off the power to normal street lighting for say even 200 to 250 days in a year it is plenty good enough !

This could also be another possible helping hand. If one is driving down a street on a pitch dark night with headlights switched on this could "charge" the phosphors in front and to the sides of the car and improve visibility.


Having read all the (enlightening :) comments, an idea would be to integrate this natively with the bitumen instead of last-layer.

I don't know about the costs or the mixing properties/quantities of both aggregates so... but if plancton does it under the sailway of boats in high sea :] i don't see why not...

Uber Lime

I'm a sidewalk artist (, Who can I give all of my money to for this?

Daniel Wair
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