Spherical Glass Amplifies Solar Energy Collection

August 28, 2012

Technology

ball-lens-render-building

Solar energy collection has had some vast improvements over the last few years; however these new prototypes from German-born, Barcelona-based architect AndrĂ© Broessel are quite striking since his concept uses a spherical glass to amplify the sun’s rays for electricity generation. Traditionally, solar energy collection becomes effective on vast scales, especially in solar farms, where panels orient themselves optimally to gather the most light possible.

The spherical ball acts as a ball lens, and its specific geometric structure is said to improve energy efficiency by 35%. In contrast to traditional photovoltaic dual-axis solar panels, the ball lens incorporates a fully rotational, weatherproof tracking system, which will work adequately on inclined surfaces and curtain walls. This could allow any building to be retrofitted with these glass lenses to generate more solar power.

ball-lens-prototype

The ball lens has the capability of concentrating diffuse daylight and even moonlight, making solar energy collection a more effective application. The third prototype is filled with water and has many photovoltaic cells to harvest solar energy.

panel-comparison

With further development, and the decreasing cost of solar panels, such a new device might not be popular, especially when considering the size comparison between it and other similar photovoltaic cells. However, its ability to generate energy more efficiently and the possibility to even generate energy at night might become the deciding factors.

ball-lens-prototypes-small

[via Designboom]

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