Scientists said Wednesday they have developed technology that converts sound waves into refrigeration, which could lead to more environmentally efficient household and industrial products.

The research team, led by Steven Garrett, professor of acoustics at Pennsylvania State University in College Park, said the thermoacoustics process could be a viable alternative to chemical refrigerants.

Thermoacoustics can work both ways, by removing heat or adding heat. Scientists used tweaked loudspeakers to create high amplitude sound waves in the air.

The amplitude levels were far higher than those at rock concerts, where the decibel level is around 120. At 165 decibels, the sound level is so intense the friction could set fire to hair as gas undergoes such huge acoustic undulations.