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Beta.ray – Spherical Collector That Combines Photovoltaic and Thermal Power


beta-ray-solar-energy-collectorBeta.ray, a transparent spherical solar energy collector with inbuilt tracking system, can harvest both solar energy and thermal power simultaneously, generating output regardless of the weather.

The invention is a design of the German architect Andre Broessel and a team of specialists from his company Rawlemon. The spherical shape of the solar collector, together with an integrated solar tracking system, cover far smaller surface area than solar panels of equal efficiency, and allow a collection of energy, even if the light is very low. But this is not all, Beta.ray also harvests thermal power, which makes it independent of cloud cover.

Unlike all conventional solar panels that face a fixed direction and harvest energy from the sun only for a limited part of the day, Beta.ray rotates according to the sun direction. The high-tech tracking system is a patented dual axis technology, which looks for the optimum angle. Thanks to this, and the transparent crystal lens that works as a concentrator of incoming light, Rawlemon’s design promises as much as 95% more energy conversion (for the Northern hemisphere, that is).

In addition to this, the makers claim that the improvement in yield due to the shape of the lens and its concentration abilities, can reach 15%. The smaller surface area, which I mentioned earlier, is in fact the whooping 75% less than what solar panels would cover to generate the same amount of energy. The inventor also claims that the technology has the lowest carbon footprint and does not depend on weather conditions, maintaining a maximum of 99% transparency.

Now, some of the specifications of the technology. The spherical lens is made of Acrylic Polymer with diameter of 1.8m, and filled with 3055 liters of water. One sphere can produce an average of 3.4 KWh per day, which comes from combined thermal and solar. It can be used as a stand-alone technology, or as a complimentary electricity supplier. In hybrid mode, the efficiency levels reach 57%.

Apparently, the technology passed numerous resistance tests, and proved to be fully operational even during bad stormy days with winds reaching 120 m/s.  The module is definitely unlike any other technology to date, and it will not be a surprise if we see these things popping up everywhere soon.

Image (c) Rawlemon

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