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Old 01-13-2014, 07:52 PM  
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These Beautiful Solar Orbs Are So Efficient They Even Harvest Moonlight



Photovoltaic panels aren't the most glamorous technology: They're usually tucked away on a roof, and when you can see them, they're ugly. And inefficient. But what if they made architecture more beautiful? And what if they were more efficient, working even at night? Say hi to Rawlemon, a solar ball lens that is quickly making its way to market.

This perfectly spherical glass ball is the work of a German architect named André Broessel, who began working on it three years ago with the aim of making solar power more efficient and less expensive, a technology available to everyone, everywhere. "Our product is democratic," he told me recently over email. "Imagine, we are conceiving autonomous products able to concentrate the light even during a cloudy day, which are generating sun powered energy wherever you are in the world. Energy for free."



Well, not quite for free. But Rawlemon, by sheer force of numbers, has the power to outperform traditional solar panels by many thousands of times. In simple terms, here's how it works. Broessel's Palantir-esque globe is filled with water that magnifies the sun's rays by more than 10,000 times, making it possible to harvest energy from the moon, or the sun on a cloudy day. Where are the PVs? The tiny panels are situated directly below the ball, where the magnified ray hits them.



At the most basic level, Rawlemon is a ball lens—a perfect sphere that refracts light into a powerful concentrated ray—and a mechanism that's been around for centuries. In fact, you can even make a crude version using a piece of saran wrap and water, as demonstrated by this dude on YouTube.



But the sun and moon, of course, are constantly moving. So to more efficiently capture their direct rays—unlike PV panels, which usually lay in a static position—Broessel designed a microtracker that follows the course of the sun as it arcs across the sky, tilting the panels along with it. The tracking system, paired with the ball lens, make Rawlemon up to 70 percent more efficient than a typical solar panel.

"So why isn't there a giant pivoting crystal ball on every rooftop yet?" I hear you whispering in awe. For one thing, manufacturing—and certifying—solar collection systems is a serious undertaking, involving yards of bureaucratic red tape. But as Broessel tells me, solar tech is also hard to market to normal people.

http://gizmodo.com/these-beautiful-s...n-h-1500329295
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Old 01-14-2014, 11:22 PM   #46
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What I'm curious about is the water these orbs. It can't be tap water, I'm thinking it's gotta be some super clear, super clean type of water...
I did some digging. Sure enough, it's Coors.
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Old 01-14-2014, 11:50 PM   #47
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well yah, at least they can't afford a solar orb right now because the cost to bring the product to market is too high. But once manufacturing has caught up, that is, once the entire manufacturing process is up and running, the cost per unit should drop significantly, just like anything else. You wanna know why laptop computers cost $5k 15 years ago and now cost $300 today (and you are getting a much better laptop today), because the cost to produce them is a lot cheaper. Same with super duper smart phones, etc.

What I'm curious about is the water these orbs. It can't be tap water, I'm thinking it's gotta be some super clear, super clean type of water. So between the glass orb and the water, along with the solar panel the concentrates the light energy and transforms it into electricity that goes to the house, I'm wondering just how much something like that could cost and maintain, if the orb manufacturer is cranking out a hundred thousand units a month....
They pour in bottled water, so basically west virginia tap water.
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Old 01-15-2014, 05:19 AM   #48
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He kinda has a point, same with lobbyist, certain groups make sure they get what they want.
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Old 01-15-2014, 07:00 AM   #49
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Old 01-15-2014, 08:23 AM   #50
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Seems a bit fraudish. There is already a lot a research putting lenses on solar cells. Using a ridiculous (perfect? not likely) sphere (filled with water..ooooo) over a tiny array of cells is just silly. Also,even if the concentration factor was 10 000, that doesn't equate to an equivalent increase in energy conversion. There is better research, better methods, and more promise in other lines of experimentation. The line about taking a while to come to market because of that darn "Red tape" set off alarm bells. There are no goverment agencies "certifying" solar equipment. This ain't the FDA and medicine. There is no bureaucracy to slog through. Sounds like a delaying tactic to hold off the kickstarters who ponied up cash and got a glorified snow globe with one solar cell that lights up an LED or runs a tiny fan (I have no idea what little "desktop" toy they got other than what was described).
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