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Highway noise can be a nuisance. Highway noise barriers can be hideous.
Now researchers at Eindhoven University of Technology have a found way to make highway noise barriers not only more beautiful but also function as solar power generators.
As part of the Solar Noise Barriers project (SONOB), a team will spend a year studying how well the luminescent solar concentrators, which measure 16 feet wide by 14.5 tall, work under a variety of conditions.
Initial tests show that .62 miles (1 kilometer) of the barriers could supply electricity to 50 households for a year or supply an electric car battery with power enough to drive 560,000 miles (900,000 km).
"Further benefits are that the principle used is low cost, they can be produced in any desired, regular color, is robust, and the LSCs will even work when the sky is cloudy," said researcher Michael Debije. "That means it offers tremendous potential."
For such a small country, The Netherlands is making huge strides in developing alternative energy in order to reach its goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by at least 40 percent by 2030.
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