Forecasts indicate that traffic on roads and railroads will expand significantly in the medium term, and not just in Germany. However, more traffic means more noise. To restrict and absorb this noise, noise barriers are required. The Austrian start-up “REEDuce – noise protection technologies” has set out to create noise barriers composed of renewable raw materials as an alternative to conventional systems that not only protect against noise but also improve air quality and biodiversity. To do this, the Vienna-based company worked with the Austrian Autobahnen- und Schnellstraßen-Finanzierungs-Aktiengesellschaft (ASFINAG) to build the first ecological noise barrier out of Lake Neusiedl reeds, thermowood, and clay. The use of domestic renewable raw materials will save at least 60 kilograms of CO₂ per square meter, according to the information presented. This spring, the noise barrier will be constructed and tested on a 16-meter piece of the S33 Krems expressway near Herzogenburg in Lower Austria.
According to the company, the project’s foundation was laid 15 years ago as part of an EU research project. A test section completed in 2008 on the A22 Donauufer highway near Langenzersdorf has previously demonstrated the barriers’ usefulness and longevity. The current REEDuce noise barrier represents a technological development over the previously created and patented version. On the one hand, the ecological noise barrier can compete in terms of technology and acoustics with traditional systems composed of wood concrete, aluminum, or chemically treated wood; on the other hand, it has numerous advantages: it is built according to circular economy principles and does not generate any hazardous waste at the end of its service life; the clay used binds fine dust and thus helps to improve air quality along roads; and the wall also serves as an insect hotel, promoting biodiversity. Although developed for road traffic, the ecological noise protection system can also be employed in manufacturing plants, supermarkets, schools, and homes.
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