Environment

Rawlemon's beautiful, spherical solar energy generators

Rawlemon's beautiful, spherica...
Rawlemon has designed an aesthetic take on solar power devices
Rawlemon has designed an aesthetic take on solar power devices
View 11 Images
The Rawlemon devices use a spherical lens to harness the sun's energy
1/11
The Rawlemon devices use a spherical lens to harness the sun's energy
Rawlemon has designed an aesthetic take on solar power devices
2/11
Rawlemon has designed an aesthetic take on solar power devices
The Rawlemon devices track the movement of the sun
3/11
The Rawlemon devices track the movement of the sun
Traditional photo-voltaic harness just 15% or lower of potential solar energy
4/11
Traditional photo-voltaic harness just 15% or lower of potential solar energy
The Rawlemon devices reportedly produce up to 70 percent more energy than conventional photovoltaic panels
5/11
The Rawlemon devices reportedly produce up to 70 percent more energy than conventional photovoltaic panels
The use of a sphere concentrates the light, thus requiring a smaller cell area
6/11
The use of a sphere concentrates the light, thus requiring a smaller cell area
The Rawlemon models range from 10 cm (3.9 in) to 180 cm (70.1 in) in height
7/11
The Rawlemon models range from 10 cm (3.9 in) to 180 cm (70.1 in) in height
Rawlemon devices harness diffuse light, so they can work at night as well as during the day
8/11
Rawlemon devices harness diffuse light, so they can work at night as well as during the day
Each Rawlemon model has a battery that can store surplus energy
9/11
Each Rawlemon model has a battery that can store surplus energy
The Beta.ey S and the Beta.ey S Special Edition are expected to be available later this year
10/11
The Beta.ey S and the Beta.ey S Special Edition are expected to be available later this year
The Beta.ey S and the Beta.ey S Special Edition are Rawlemon's phone charger models
11/11
The Beta.ey S and the Beta.ey S Special Edition are Rawlemon's phone charger models
View gallery - 11 images

Despite their noble cause of harnessing clean, renewable energy from the sun, solar panels tend to be aesthetically uninspiring. Solar start-up Rawlemon aims to change all that with a new, and undeniably beautiful, take on concentrated photovoltaic (CPV) technology.

Created by Andre Broessel, a German architect inspired by his daughter’s toy marbles, the Rawlemon design uses a spherical lens to concentrate sunlight on a small photovoltaic panel and combines this with a dual-axis pivot that tracks the movement of the sun.

According to the designer the transparent sphere is able collect and concentrate diffuse where traditional devices cannot and as well as providing an efficiency boost, they can be used in far more locations than their flat, fixed counterparts. It's also claimed that by concentrating the sun’s light in one area, the Rawlemon design reduces the solar cell surface required to just 1 percent of that required by a traditional panel.

Rawlemon aims to bring a range of devices to market starting with the 10-cm (3.9-in) Beta.ey S phone charger, which it is currently the subject of an Indiegogo campaign. The funds raised are earmarked for the production and certification of the Beta.ey S. The charger is compatible with any phone that uses a USB 2.0 charging port and has a battery storage capacity of 27.5 Whr.

The Beta.ey S and the Beta.ey S Special Edition are Rawlemon's phone charger models
The Beta.ey S and the Beta.ey S Special Edition are Rawlemon's phone charger models

As well as a Bet.ey S Special Edition and a Beta.ey XL designed for charging tablets, Rawlemon has some larger devices in its portfolio. The 100-cm (39.4-in) Beta.ray 1.0 will generate up to 1.1 kWh a day, which is enough to run a laptop for about two days. It has a 1.8 kWh battery.

The largest device in the Rawlemon range is the 180-cm (70.1-in) Beta.ray 1.8 that will generate up to 3.4 kWh a day, enough to run your laptop for almost a week. It has a 5.4 kWh battery. Both the Beta.ray 1.0 and 1.8 feature water-filled acrylic-polymer lenses, as opposed to the solid lenses of their smaller siblings, plus they generate thermal energy as well as solar.

Rawlemon is also developing a system it calls Microtrack, that uses the same technology but is installed as a building skin. Microtrack will will produce energy during the day and can be used as a multimedia display at night.

Beta.ey is planned for release later this year and will be followed by the Beta.ray next year. Rawlemon estimates that the Microtrack system will take three years to bring to market.

The design is a thing of beauty, but does it stack up as being more effective than flat PVs or other concentrator designs? Those water-filled spheres must be heavy after all. We'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below.

The Rawlemon video pitch is below.

Source: Rawlemon

Rawlemon Spherical Solar Energy Generator

View gallery - 11 images
20 comments
BigGoofyGuy
I think that makes going green fashionable and cool. I like the smaller ones. The bigger ones would be cool for small homes too since it could - potentially - let the home owner go 'off grid'.
Matthew Bailey
Pretty, but how much does it weigh? What is it made of? How much does it cost to produce?
moreover
Nice - Solar PV with Apple aesthetics :) Devices we use and see all the time better be beautiful - of course, they also should work well. Let's hope this one does both.
Richie Suraci
We have tried several times to communicate with this company and they answer once to your inquiry and when you ask more questions in a reply they do not answer, especially to wholesale inquiries.
scottm
Have you ever have one of those sealed thermometers that have the floating colored spheres in them? I'm no scientist or engineer, but what happens when the algae starts to grow in the water?
ezeflyer
I love the looks of it. And if it can provide more energy than standard panels at a lower price, its a winner. Ship compasses use oil instead of water to prevent algae growth.
ADVENTUREMUFFINffin
I would check the embodied energy it takes to make the unit-make sure it less than what will be produced by it, otherwise, its taking more energy from the planet, not giving it back.
Chris Culpepper
BS, Adventuremuffin. At some point in any production, there is a break-even (where the energy used to produce is equal to the energy saved from the product). Thus, at some point the product helps the environment. You know this, so why are you trying to post a negative about solar energy? Who do you work for? Who's interest are you trying to protect?
lnjvand
Wow, Chris. Can't he be looking out for the planet? Personally, I like my coffee cup; but I know that the energy to make and destroy that single plastic cup is greater than if I used a thousand paper cups. My energy break-even point on that single cup won't be for 4 or 5 years, and I know that cup isn't going to make it. Right now alternative energy is still at that same point. The financial and energy upside are further down the road than the equipment will last. Do it if you want, tell yourself you're doing something good, but don't tell yourself you're saving money or energy.
Gizreader
These negative comments are made by naive people with little knowledge. And questions like "..but how much does it weigh? What is it made of? How much does it cost to produce? -> is it relevant to this article? Just say whether you appreciate the idea or not and give good arguments to support what you say. I find this a refreshingly good idea, from the perspective of esthetics as well as efficiency, so different from the usually available flat solar panels. I think it's a sure winner.