Researchers are testing out two noise barriers that could generate solar power on the sides of a Netherlands highway.

These translucent colored panels are a new energy source called "luminescent solar concentrators" (LSCs), the Eindhoven University of Technology reported.

"Thanks to their many colors the LSC are visually very attractive, which makes them ideal for use in many different situations in the built environment," said Debije of the Department of Chemical Engineering and Chemistry, who has carried out years of research into these panels. "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. That means it offers tremendous potential."

The one-year practical testing began on June 18 in 's-Hertogenbosch. The researchers are testing the technology using solar cells integrated in noise barriers or SONOBs (Solar Noise Barriers). The aim of the current study is to assess how much electricity these semi-transparent acoustic screens will be able to generate under varying conditions. The findings suggest so far that one kilometer od paneling can provide about 50 homes with power.

"The Netherlands has enough noise barriers and can also provide the necessary solar cell technology", said Stijn Verkuilen, project leader at Heijmans. "Our practical test is a simple sum, through which we're investigating the ways solar cell technology can be integrated in a robust and visually attractive way."

The partners in the SONOB project are Heijmans, TU/e, Van Campen Industries, SEAC, Airbus Defence & Space Netherlands and ECN, and the tests are supported by the Municipality of 's-Hertogenbosch, Willemspoort, SPARK campus, the Ministry of Economic Affairs, and Scheuten.