Translucent Solar Noise Barriers (SONOBS) in the Netherlands

Form meets function.  A Dutch researcher from the Eindhoven University of Technology has designed a new luminescent solar concentrator (LSC) panel which is thinner, cheaper and aesthetically pleasing. On June 18 several test panels were installed along the busy A2 highway as a pilot project for a new product which combines the need for solar energy capture with noise abatement.  Michael Debije, assistant professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering and Chemistry, designed the panels to reabsorb light as they channel it to the solar arrays at their edges.  The light is then transferred to conventional panels at the sides. This results in enough electricity to power 50 homes from one kilometer (0.62 miles).


The Technology

  • SONOBS – Solar Noise Barriers
  • luminescent solar concentrators (LSC) = translucent sheets bounce light internally to the edges of the panels, where it’s beamed onto regular solar panels in concentrated form
  • solar cells are hidden in the frame of the barrier
  • works under the gray skies of Northern Europe
  • Currently being tested along A2 highway

The Sustainability Problem

  • Suitable for urban areas
  • Shields noise without cutting off view
  • Produces renewable energy
  • Reduces reliability on non-sustainable electricity
  • Future: expansion throughout the Netherlands, international market

The Technology Stakeholders

  • Scientists and academics
  • Businesses (producers of technology and energy consumers)
  • Suppliers of component parts
  • Individual residents/consumers
  • Utilities
  • Local councils and Governments

The Steps to Technology Implementation

  • Continue “living lab” tests in Den Bosch, Netherlands
  • Measure the electrical output and explore business models
  • Identify business cases for the end user(s)



3 thoughts on “Translucent Solar Noise Barriers (SONOBS) in the Netherlands

  1. Fascinating technology. I’m curious if there’s an analysis on how many emissions are reduced by combining these two necessary technologies into one.


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