When one thinks of a crystal ball it is normally in the context of clairvoyance, or the ability to perceive matters beyond the range of ordinary perception.
However this giant crystal ball designed by Rawlemon serves a more tangible purpose than extra-sensory perception: it actually converts light from the sun, moon and clouds into energy. Designed by André Broessel and a team of solar energy designers, the “Betaray” is a spherical marble globe which utilizes dual-axis tracking to capture light primarily from the sun.
The Betaray is beautifully designed but its design serves more than just aesthetics. Utilizing a ball lens and a unique geometric structure, the Betaray focuses light on a single focal point, making it 35% more sustainable and efficient than normal than normal dual-axis photovoltaic systems. The use of the focal point increases sustainability by reducing the solar cell surface area and increases efficiency by generating more energy and by capturing diffuse light (i.e. light from a cloudy sky). In fact, the Betaray captures up to 4 times more light during cloudy days than traditional systems.
Traditional dual-axis systems are also expensive and can be impacted by weather. The Betaray however is not and it limits weather impact by deploying a micro-tracking system which fully rotates to capture light sources during any type of weather. To store the electricity and thermal energy generated by the system, the Betaray employs a modular collector that stores energy both day and night.
Lead architect André Broessel’s end goal is to design a solar system for buildings which can act as both windows and a renewable energy source. Depending on how the Betaray is used commercially, it could end up being a game changer for the solar energy industry.
To learn more about how the Betaray works, watch the video here.