Gallery: Soundscraper Transforms Vibrations from City Noise Pollution i...

The Soundscraper is a futuristic structure designed to transform auditory vibrations from bustling cities into a source of clean energy. Designed by Julien Bourgeois, Olivier Colliez, Savinien de Pizzol, Cedric Dounval and Romain Grouselle, the Soundscraper is covered with noise-sensitive cilia that harvest kinetic energy while soaking up urban noise pollution.

An entry in the 2013 eVolo Skyscraper Competition, the Soundscrapers would be constructed near major motorways and railroad junctions, prime locations for capturing ambient vibrations. A sound-sucking material would cover the exterior of the tower with a double-skin layer, held away from the façade on a metallic frame.

For each Soundscraper, 84,000 electro-active lashes would cover the metal frame and pick up noise from cars, trains, pedestrians and passing planes. Each of the lashes is armed with sound sensors called Parametric Frequency Increased Generators. Once the noise is picked up, an energy harvester converts the vibrations to kinetic energy. Transducer cells then convert the energy to electricity, which is stored or distributed to the grid for regular electric use.

The team estimates that just one Soundscraper could produce 150 megawatts of energy in a densely populated city, which roughly converts to 10% of the lighting needs of Los Angeles. The clean energy would also help the city reduce carbon emissions and reliance upon fossil fuels. Several Soundscrapers could drastically offset the electrical needs of a metropolis.

+ eVolo 2013 Skyscraper Competition


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  1. Petar Posavec February 7, 2015 at 10:03 am

    “150MW?! How is this physically possible – don\’t understand. Can anybody confirm / explain this figure? The largest single wind turbine in the world (200m high/100m diameter blades) generates 7.5MW for comparison.

    I suspect 150kW is what was meant in this article.”

    Technical efficiency is a part of Ephemeralization.
    It allows us to do more, by using less resources.

    The more we understand about how environment works, the better methods we develop.

    Plus it depends on what kind of methodology is used and the type of energy being harnessed.

    And finally, most of what Capitalism does is focusing on ‘cost efficiency’ (the ability to mass produce more at a reduced monetary cost for the purpose of profit accumulation).
    Cost efficiency has practically nothing to do with technical efficiency.

    Capitalism doesn’t use superior synthetic materials which can be made in sustainable abundance with no damage to the environment, or state of the art science and methods of production.
    It focuses on using monetarily cheap materials which can be mass produced for profits by utilizing EXISTING methods of production (as opposed to creating much better ones – because using what is already there is monetarily cheap), plus it doesn’t use state of the art science (even though it takes about 6 months for a scientific discovery to be made into a prototype for instance that can be mass produced).

  2. Broony March 27, 2013 at 12:11 pm

    150MW?! How is this physically possible – don\’t understand. Can anybody confirm / explain this figure? The largest single wind turbine in the world (200m high/100m diameter blades) generates 7.5MW for comparison.

    I suspect 150kW is what was meant in this article.

  3. bigbadbobbolton March 27, 2013 at 7:57 am

    Hmm looking at my calender it is very close to April the 1st….

    I mean just look at it?

  4. JOHN CUNNINGHAM March 24, 2013 at 11:00 pm

    People need to know that Hydrofracking Chemicals that where injected into the ground some come up as Aromatic with the Methane and Vary HIGH RADIATION that is piped into their homes. Radon and etc. are noble gas\\\’s that do not burn and goes thru flames with who knows what heated concoction of chemicals they are breathing. We know that the radiation damages living cells and depleates to LEAD. This is basic chemistry and physics and the byproduct attaches to the Gas Soot (< 2.689 microns) and easally enters the small airways of your family. The Gas Co\\\'s respond with open windows AND/OR doors to ventalate the fumes and are vary aware of the problem, It\\\'s on the NET. I\\\'ve been resurching Hydrofracking for over 3 years and been to PA. and listened to WASTE hallers after several drinks talking about the best places to dump with no paperwork. \\\"OH\\\" ventalate have they noticed it\\\'s winter. Protect your families.. THANX jc.

  5. Angelo Campanella March 22, 2013 at 10:06 am

    Why not market a PC or cell phone charger that that fits on the unit that transforms heartbeat vibrations on the surface of your chest, plus your hourly stirring about “seismic” vibrations, into a charging current? That idea will get to market a lot faster and cost the taxpayer a lot less than this mega-cilia nonsense. After the self-winding watch was already on the market a half century.


  6. rktrix March 21, 2013 at 3:02 pm

    Hmm. I’m a little rusty with my physics, but sound is not just vibrational but carried by waves, right? And the air the waves travel on are also filled with gritty pollution as well as sound pollution. Are the cilia self cleaning? Does grime affect their ability to collect noise?

    Still – an intriguing idea, despite the spelling and grammar errors! I wish the team luck and hope it works.

  7. Betsy Skeptic March 21, 2013 at 1:40 pm

    I can’t help thinking someone misplaced a decimal point in the calculation of the energy generated. But if this is real, then what a fantastic idea!!

  8. tryan7905 March 21, 2013 at 1:39 pm

    The term “futuristic” best describes such technology when there is no estimated cost provided.

  9. Connie Henderson March 20, 2013 at 1:03 pm

    I wonder what happens when it rains..?

  10. Ali Van March 20, 2013 at 1:30 am

    wow this is new… hope it actually comes to life

  11. MOhammed Baig March 19, 2013 at 5:33 pm

    Awesome idea! Love to see this happen..

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