• Germany edition
 
German of the Week
'Giant marbles' could power our homes
Andre with the Rawlemon sphere. Photo: Rawlemon

'Giant marbles' could power our homes

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

“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 stories about Germany, join us on Facebook and Twitter

Jessica Ware (jessica.ware@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Lufthansa pilots abandon Frankfurt strike plans
Photo: DPA

Lufthansa pilots abandon Frankfurt strike plans

UPDATE: Pilots' union Cockpit has announced that it will abandon plans for its members to walk out at Frankfurt airport on Tuesday. READ  

One of these men will be Berlin's next mayor
Jan Stöß, Raed Saleh, Michael Müller Photo: DPA

One of these men will be Berlin's next mayor

Three men are hoping to become Berlin’s next mayor after Klaus Wowereit steps down in December. With nominations closing on Monday, The Local looks at the three politicians who want to lead the city. READ  

Hotels hike up prices six-fold for Oktoberfest
Photo: DPA

Hotels hike up prices six-fold for Oktoberfest

As an estimated six million people get ready to raise their glasses for the annual Oktoberfest in Munich, hotels are raising their prices by as much as six times their regular rates. READ  

Police pin down Lidl meat needle culprit
A CCTV of the suspect released by police. Photo: Lübeck Polizei

Police pin down Lidl meat needle culprit

A woman has come forward to admit hiding needles in packets of meat in discount supermarkets after CCTV images enabled police to pick up the thread of the investigation. READ  

Germany puts first 'Isis jihadist' on trial
Kreshnik Berisha in court in Frankfurt on Monday. Photo: DPA

Germany puts first 'Isis jihadist' on trial

UPDATE: An alleged German jihadist went on trial on Monday accused of fighting for the Islamic State in Syria group, amid calls for tougher action to prevent attacks in Europe by the militants. READ  

Netflix to launch in Germany this week
Kevin Spacey as Frank Underwood and Robin Wright as Claire Underwood in House of Cards. Photo: DPA/Sony Pictures Television Inc.

Netflix to launch in Germany this week

TV streaming service Netflix is set to launch in Germany this week in the face of stiff competition from existing players. READ  

JobTalk Germany
'Three types of firms are hiring foreigners'
Photo: Shutterstock

'Three types of firms are hiring foreigners'

What kind of companies are hiring foreigners in Germany? And which type of firm should you target for your next career move? Recruitment expert Chris Pyak reveals all to JobTalk. READ  

Mushroom pickers find human skull
Photo: DPA

Mushroom pickers find human skull

Two mushroom pickers in central Germany found a human skull and bones in the woods on Saturday. READ  

Eurosceptics celebrate huge eastern gains
AfD leader Bernd Lucke celebrates on Sunday night. Photo: DPA

Eurosceptics celebrate huge eastern gains

UPDATE: Germany's anti-euro party celebrated huge gains in elections in two eastern states on Sunday night, in a show of strength that spells a growing threat for Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives. READ  

Merkel: 'Jewish life is part of German identity'
Merkel speaking on Sunday at the rally in Berlin. Photo: DPA

Merkel: 'Jewish life is part of German identity'

Chancellor Angela Merkel vowed on Sunday to resolutely combat anti-Semitism, speaking at a rally to condemn a spate of hate speech and attacks against Jews in Germany during the latest Gaza conflict. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Photo: DPA
National
Neo-Nazis are attacking newspaper offices
Photo: DPA
Gallery
Election night in Brandenburg and Thuringia
Photo: DPA
Berlin
Berlin spy station sees tourism boom
Photo: DPA
Politics
Germany officially bans terror group Isis
Photo: DPA/ESA
Tech
VIDEO: How one German astronaut sees Earth
Photo: DPA
Berlin
Frisky couple shock Berlin commuters
Photo: DPA
Politics
Are Germans right to want cooler relations with USA?
Marks & Spencer
Sponsored Article
Fashion Ladies of the Local: Win a New Autumn Look
Photo: Bayernpartei/DPA
Politics
Why some Bavarians want a Scottish 'Yes'
Photo: DPA
Gallery
12 things to do in Berlin for less than a latte
Photo: Facebook
National
Bavarian waiter breaks beer-carrying record
Photo: DPA
Gallery
Ten German place names that make us giggle
Sponsored Article
Bilingual education from nursery to graduation at Phorms
Photo: DPA
Business & Money
JobTalk: All you need to know about working in Germany
National
Share news tips with The Local Germany
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

3,250
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd