Highway noise is a serious environmental problem in urbanized areas. To mitigate this nuisance to the adjoining areas, unattractive concrete sound walls are constructed. These concrete highway noise barriers not only take up a lot of space, but they can also be an eyesore.
Now, to improve the quality of life for those who live around highways, apart from reducing the road noise, the Netherlands plan to make these barriers a source of clean energy.
Researchers at the Eindhoven University of Technology have developed noise barriers made of special translucent solar panels that look a little like stained glass windows. A stretch of highway in the Netherlands now has these power-generating noise barriers.
The technology behind these panels is called Luminescent Solar Concentrators (LSCs). LSCs are colored panels that generate power even when the sky is cloudy.
As per initial estimates, 0.62 miles (1 kilometer) of these barriers could generate enough electricity to power 50 households.