Currently, the sound walls that line our freeways, toll-ways, and highways are vertical. It makes sense because that’s how you build a wall, but I would propose a different shape, one which could catch more noise, airflow, and vibrational energy. This energy could be recycled, and reused. Yes, this is an intriguing thought and concept, and therefore I would like to describe what I have in mind, that is if you have a few moments.
It seems to me that the sound walls should be candy cane shaped with the curve facing inward towards the traffic. As the cars zoom along it will catch the wind and flow it through that curve or tube-like structure. Along it we could put wind turbine blades collecting all the energy. Surely, this would be enough to power up the lights for the freeway or highway, as well as those big signage boards for traffic alerts. It may also be enough energy to power up the lighting over the bridges, and the traffic signals on either side of every bridge traversing the road.
Also, the candy cane shape would help collect the vibrational energy using a strategy inspired by nature, namely the seashell. Sea creatures are able to hear and feel vibrations and sounds from afar because all of the noise or sound is focused inside the shell. Vibrational energy can also be captured and reused. I’m sure an environmentalist, or an eco-innovative alternative energy strategist would also propose putting solar panels on top of the wall. Now you’re thinking.
Best of all, there would be no noise whatsoever on the other side of the wall, the pollution could also be captured in this way because it would flow along with the relative wind generated from the flow of vehicles. Capturing noise, pollution, wind, vibrational energy, and even some light on top makes sense. We already have the sound walls so, why not add the structure I discuss here towards the top of those walls? If we made them out of lightweight structure, the current wall could easily support the extra weight.
L-shaped brackets on top could hold the solar panels. How much would this cost? Not much, I have drawings and designs now, it’s all quite simple. Further the pay-off from the energy collected would be nearly immediate, and all those that live near the freeway would have cleaner air to breathe and a better nights rest, meaning lower health care costs and happier humans too. Please consider all this and think on it. Next week, we will talk about similar smaller systems for railways and airport run-up areas.