• Germany's news in English
 
app_header_v3

'Giant marbles' could power our homes

Jessica Ware · 27 Feb 2014, 15:47

Published: 27 Feb 2014 15:47 GMT+01:00

Last week, Broessel's project reached its $120,000 target on crowd-funding site Indiegogo, miles before deadline.

By Thursday he had raised $155,000.

The spheres, made from glass and acrylic, have no photovoltaic cells like a regular solar panel. They simply act like lenses to focus energy from the sun.

“We're in talks with manufacturers in Taiwan, and I think we have sorted something,” the 46-year-old architect told The Local.

Appearing to be a giant see-through ball hanging in a bracket, and known as Rawlemon, Broessel explained, it squeezes energy out of the sun, hence the name Rawlemon.

"The sphere collects sunlight and converts it into energy," he said, adding that it could even collect and convert moonlight, although not enough to power anything.

The idea came to Broessel one day at the breakfast table years ago.

“I was watching my daughter put a marble in an egg cup,” he said. “It was a Sunday and I saw the focal points moving on the sphere, and a project was born.” An eye, he said, works in a similar way.

And unlike regular solar panels, which not only take up a lot of space and do not, arguably, look as good as Rawlemon, a sphere can remain stationary.

“It was this optical tracking that was the real breakthrough,” he said.

In 2008 his clients started asking for smart, energy saving technology for the homes he was designing for them and he began putting his plan, inspired by his daughter playing, into action.

Nearly six years later with German government money and the crowd-sourcing campaign later, Rawlemon should soon be ready to power a house.

“A household with two adults and two children would need about three spheres to provide all their daily energy. This would cost about €10,000,” said Broessel. This would mean minimal to no energy bills.

Born near Düsseldorf, the father-of-two hopes that his invention will offer a more environmentally-friendly energy alternative that could prove especially popular as Germany shifts over to more renewable energy.

“I am currently waiting to see if I will get the model patented,” he said. “I was the first person to make something like this, and I'm sure I'll get the patent,” said Broessel. “I fought for it."

He admitted that what the company needed at this point was an industrial partner.

Story continues below…

“We need this to overcome the costs of the first two to three years and to reach competitive prices,” said Broessel, who now lives in Barcelona.

But there is another problem that stands in Rawlemon's way.

“The energy industry is trying to block our project,” said Broessel. For now, all he can do is make contact with power companies - meetings with a few in Spain are already lined up - and hope for the best.

“If we want to reach the goals we have, we have to give it time,” he said. “Our team is growing and I hope in the future we can help make buildings more efficient, with lower operating costs.”

SEE ALSO: Energy bosses reveal 800km power link route

For more news from Germany, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

Jessica Ware (jessica.ware@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
More Germans doubtful on EU-US TTIP pact: poll
Tens of thousands of Germans have taken to the streets in protest against the pact. Photo: DPA

Only 17 percent see "mostly advantages".

Close shave: Hairdresser in hot water over Hitler ad
An image of the banned campaign. Screen grab: Bayerische Rundfunk

A hairdresser in Bavaria who used an image of Adolf Hitler in a campaign against right-wing extremists has fallen foul of the courts.

Refugee influx leads to German cricket boom
With an influx of cricket-mad Pakistan and Afghanistan asylum seekers, the German Cricket Federation has been flooded with a simple question: "Where can I play?" Photo: Ally Middleton, via Flickr

Clubs springing up everywhere.

Why Germans get wholly wasted on Ascension Day
Young men in Schleswig-Holstein go for their annual chug and stroll on Ascension Day - which is also Father's Day. Photo: DPA.

In Germany, Himmelfahrt is not just about honouring Jesus' ascent into heaven - it's also Father's Day, and sees a tripling of alcohol-related accidents. The Local explains why.

Moving city is no excuse to quit the gym: court
Breaking out of a gym contract in Germany takes more than upper body strength. Photo: DPA

Nomadic fitness fanatics across Germany suffered a blow on Wednesday, after the country's top court ruled that moving to a different city is no grounds for breaking a contract with your gym.

Germany's six most beloved shopping streets
The Krügerpassage on Westenhellweg, Dortmund. Photo: Wikipedia

Where do Germans most love to spend their cash? The results of a new survey show the hottest shopping miles in the Bundesrepublik - and Berlin barely features.

‘Innovative’ Germans finally discover Victorian drying rack
The humble drying rack. Screenshot: Youtube

No one beats the Germans when it comes to invention and innovation - or so the cliché goes. But a Munich startup’s new project shows they’re not always first to the party.

Towns hire 'rubbish scouts' to keep summer BBQs tidy
Photo: DPA

Towns and cities across Germany are tooling up for the summer, with many hiring extra staff to pounce on people sullying parks with barbecue rubbish.

Video
Tourist terror as iconic Berlin balloon thrashed by winds
The Die Welt balloon swaying in the wind. Photo: DPA

Sightseers in the German capital feared for their lives on Tuesday afternoon when the "Die Welt" balloon swayed out of control in strong winds.

Erdogan poem affair
Merkel ‘filleted me and served me to Erdogan for tea’
Jan Böhmermann. Photo: DPA

The German comedian behind a “smear poem” which outraged Turkey and unleashed hot-tempered debate on freedom of speech across Europe has spoken for the first time since the affair - and he had sharp words for the Chancellor.

Sponsored Article
What's the best way for expats to transfer money abroad?
Culture
The 6 German words you need to know for spring
Sponsored Article
Becoming an expat: where to start
Culture
6 weird and wonderful ways Germans celebrate May 1st
Gallery
Feast your eyes on Germany in springtime bloom
Sponsored Article
How to launch your international career
National
4/20: Five things to know about weed in Germany
Berlin
Police break up hipster swarm at vegan restaurant opening
Politics
Merkel allows Erdogan case against German satirist to go ahead
Travel
7 of Germany's most jaw-dropping national parks
Hamburg
Gay penguins move to Hamburg to settle down
Business & Money
See-through €5 coin has collectors lining up
Health
Vegan hemp powder recalled over fear toddlers getting high
International
6 ways Mexico and Germany are secretly the best of friends
Munich
Drunk man falls onto tracks, 3 trains pass before anyone notices
Culture
The 7 most German things that happened at the 'German Grammys'
National
Could Germany ban diesel cars from city centres?
Travel
Eight things you never knew about the German Autobahn
Society
Police force naked driver to trek to brothel on foot
National
Bavarian town finally strips Hitler of honorary citizenship
Society
Brandenburg faces wrath of Flying Spaghetti Monster
International
German retiree 'fed to dog' by Russian wife in Mallorca
National
Ordinary Germans toast love online in face of Brussels bombings
National
Germany calls for "strength in unity" after Brussels bombings
7,819
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd