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

'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.

“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
Formula One
Rosberg 'overwhelmed' by birth of daughter
Formula One Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg with his wife Vivian. File photo: DPA

Rosberg 'overwhelmed' by birth of daughter

7 minutes ago

Star Formula One driver Nico Rosberg confirmed on Monday that he and his wife Vivian are now the parents of a baby girl, saying the couple were “overwhelmed and totally in love”.

'No limit to refugees Germany can take in'
Refugees arrive at an intake centre. Photo: DPA

'No limit to refugees Germany can take in'

1 hour ago

Germany's top official dealing with refugees said on Monday that there was 'no upper limit' to Germany's capacity for taking in people in need of asylum.

Berlin orchestra's Tehran concert blocked by Iran
Daniel Barenboim. Photo: DPA

Berlin orchestra's Tehran concert blocked by Iran

2 hours ago

Iran has barred famed conductor Daniel Barenboim from entering the Islamic republic because of his Israeli citizenship, thwarting his plan to lead a performance in Tehran, media reported Sunday.

Bundesliga
Dortmund reclaim top spot with Hertha win
Borussia Dortmund celebrate scoring against Hertha Berlin. Photo:DPA

Dortmund reclaim top spot with Hertha win

2 hours ago

Borussia Dortmund reclaimed top spot in the Bundesliga from Bayern Munich on Sunday with a 3-1 victory over Hertha Berlin -- their eighth straight win under new coach Thomas Tuchel.

Germany's friendship vow to Afghanistan
Frank-Walter Steinmeier in Afghanistan on Sunday. Photo:DPA

Germany's friendship vow to Afghanistan

2 hours ago

Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said that German friendship with Afghanistan had "no end date" as he visited Kabul under tight security on Sunday.

Migrants crisis
German media and celebs rally for refugees
A welcome party for refugees in Heidenau on Friday. Photo: DPA

German media and celebs rally for refugees

17 hours ago

Germany may have witnessed violent anti-refugee protests this week -- but the message from the country's media and celebrities is a loud and determined welcome for people fleeing the horrors of war.

Buzz grows over Poland Nazi treasure train
Ksiaz Castle in Poland, around where the treasure is fabled to be. Photo: Drozdp, via Wikimedia Commons

Buzz grows over Poland Nazi treasure train

23 hours ago

Poland's deputy culture minister has claimed to have seen a ground-penetrating radar image of the alleged Nazi train that has set off a gold rush, adding that he is 99 percent sure it exists, while other sources claim the treasure has already been found.

Migrants crisis
Mass pro-refugee rally held in Dresden
Photo: Oliver Killig / Picture Alliance / DPA

Mass pro-refugee rally held in Dresden

1 day ago

Thousands of people took to the streets of the German city of Dresden on Saturday to welcome refugees, an AFP journalist at the scene said, following a string of violent anti-migrant protests in the region.

Migrant crisis
Austria refugee tragedy suspects appear in court
Screen shot from video by Andi Schiel

Austria refugee tragedy suspects appear in court

1 day ago

Four defendants were to appear in court in Hungary on Saturday over Austria's migrant truck tragedy, as a "horrified and heartbroken" UN chief called for international action to end Europe's refugee crisis.

German court: Ban on refugee demos must stay
Anti-refugee demonstrators carry a sign accusing Chancellor Angela Merkel of being a "traitor to the nation" this week in Heidenau. Photo: DPA

German court: Ban on refugee demos must stay

2 days ago

Update: A German court on Friday night reinstated a ban on rallies in an eastern town hit by violent anti-migrant protests, overturning an earlier decision that found the restriction to be "illegal".

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS

National
Weekend of anti-refugee violence shocks Germany
National
Half of Germans 'have had sex in their car'
Society
Deadly stew spooks home vegetable gardeners
Politics
The man who brought two Germanies together
Features
Where to get your culture fix in Cologne
Education
Fairytale world of Brothers Grimm brought to life
Rhineland
Thieves leave 1,000 open beers untasted
National
Way to some Germans' hearts is through their wallets
National
Germany's biggest challenge: European refugee crisis
Travel
Where to get your adrenaline pumping in Germany
Technology
Could thieves hack into luxury cars?
What to watch out for when snapping your lunch
National
German lefties through history
National
The fight over prostitution heats up
National
Merkel: migrants, not Greece, are the real challenge
Features
How I explained the Queen to the Germans
Education
Why Germany does 'back-to-school' traditions better
National
Germans are ‘not how foreigners think’
National
A mum and daughter reunite 70 years after WWII
Sport
Bra stops bullet in hunting mishap miracle
National
Cows trample German woman to death in Graubünden Alps
Business & Money
Start-up helps new Berliners short cut bureaucracy
National
The 1,000s of Germans massacred after the Second World War
Sport
Germany star scores own goal with PR gaffe
Features
'Women-only' parking: sensible or sexist?
Politics
Satire and reality blur in parody party's strife
National
13-year-old boy detained for trying to join Isis
Culture
Berlin restaurant serves up Greek Crisis Menu
Rhineland
Doctor on trial after woman wakes in morgue
Society
Six odd things Germans do in the summer
Society
Police bust kinky Bavarian couple over painful love-making
Politics
Merkel brings Palestinian girl to tears
Hamburg
Amateur archaeologist finds Nazi gold hoard
National
Could Merkel learn a lesson in love from this doppelganger?
Travel
Why you should stay in Germany for the summer holidays
Sport
German press tell Schweinsteiger 'good riddance'
National
Hamburg gets a bouncing 100kg baby girl
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

6,967
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd