• 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
Germany says 'won't let anyone take Europe from us'
Steinmeier called the European Union “a successful project of peace and stability”. Photo: DPA

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said on Saturday that the EU would weather the shock of the British vote to leave the union as he convened crisis talks.

Brexit vote
Brexit will turn Berlin into 'Europe’s startup capital'
A sign in Berlin's tech giant and startup-building company Rocket Internet. Photo: DPA.

London is currently thought of as the main hub for startups in Europe, but that will all turn around when the UK leaves the EU, tech industry experts say.

Brexit vote - Analysis
'Germany needs to make UK come to its senses'
British Leave campaigners celebrate Brexit result. Photo: DPA

Britain leaving the EU means trouble ahead for Germany - and its hardest task will be convincing the Brits to drop a self-defeating ideology, a leading foreign policy expert told The Local.

How to get German citizenship (or just stay forever)
Photo: DPA.

Considering a change of passport after the UK's vote to ditch the EU? Here’s how to do it.

Germany makes fracking verboten
A sign in North Rhine-Westphalia. Photo: DPA.

German lawmakers approved a law that essentially bans fracking, ending years of dispute over the controversial technology to release oil and gas locked deep underground.

Brexit vote
German far right 'cries for joy' after UK votes to leave EU
Left to right: AfD's Beatrix von Storch and Frauke Petry. Photo: DPA

The far-right AfD party called for a "new Europe" and the resignation of the EU's top two politicians in the wake of the Brexit vote.

Brexit vote
Merkel: Brexit has cut into European unity
Angela Merkel at a press conference after the Brexit vote on Friday. Photo: DPA.

Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Friday that the UK's decision to leave the EU has created a "cut in Europe" and the project of European unity.

Couple copulating on bridge shut down Autobahn
Kaiserlei Bridge in Frankfurt. Photo: Dontworry / Wikimedia Commons.

It was a highly unusual choice of location for a romantic rendezvous, police in Frankfurt point out.

Brexit vote
Germany: Brexit vote is a 'sad day for Europe'
A British flag along with other flags of European Union member countries flies in front of the European Council building in Strasbourg, France. Photo: EPA.

Top German leaders declared that it was a "sad day for Europe" after British voters opted to leave the European Union.

Viernheim hostage-taker wasn't carrying lethal weapon
A police officer stands guard in front of the cinema in Viernheim. Photo: DPA

The 19-year-old German man who took over a dozen people hostage in a cinema in western Germany on Thursday was carrying replica weapons, prosecutors have confirmed.

Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Features
How two gay dads cut through German red tape to start a family
Sponsored Article
Education abroad: How to find an international school
Features
Six odd things Germans do in the summer
Travel
These 10 little-known German towns are a must see
Sponsored Article
US expats: Taxes are due June 15th
National
Five things to know about guns in Germany
Sponsored Article
Avoid hidden fees when sending money overseas
Gallery
7 photos which show the aftermath of Bavaria's Autobahn bridge collapse
Culture
10 things you need to know before attending a German wedding
National
Eight weird habits you'll pick up living in Germany
Sponsored Article
Health insurance for expats in Germany: a quick guide
Lifestyle
Six reasons 'super-cool' Berlin isn't all it's cracked up to be
Society
Only one country likes getting naked on the beach more than Germany
Lifestyle
23 ridiculously fascinating things you never knew about Berlin
Culture
8 German words that perfectly sum up your 20s
Sport
How to sound like an expert on German football this summer
Lifestyle
Can't make it past the door at Berlin's most famous club? Help is at hand
Business & Money
Why Frankfurt could steal London's crown as Europe's finance capital
Features
6 surprising things I learned about Germany while editing The Local
Culture
Five sure-fire ways to impress Germans with your manners
Features
6 reasons Germany's summer is unbeatable for thrill-seekers
National
The future belongs to these 10 German regions
Society
How pictures of footballers on chocolates made Pegida really mad
Health
New father's tragic herpes warning touches 1000s online
National
Bayer's Monsanto takeover would be 'diabolical': environmentalists
7,902
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd