Try to imagine this: interstate highways without those unsightly cable towers dotting the landscape. After all, they can pose as a road hazard during calamities. There’s a startup in New Zealand that believes that it can power the world through wireless electricity which can greatly benefit hard-to-reach areas at a low cost.
This startup, called Emrod has teamed up with Powerco, a New Zealand-based electricity distributor to test a power transmission of antennas. The company also plans to beam electric power from New Zealand to Stewart Island at what’s expected to be cheaper than the traditional wired system. The system consists of a transmitting antenna, receiving antenna (rectenna), power source, and relay stations. However, the only limiting factor is that these antennas must be within line of sight to work.
It works by using a series of relays, a transmitting antenna, and a receiving antenna that’s capable of converting microwaves into electricity. The system uses non-ionizing industrial and scientific bands of the RF spectrum.
The Concept Of Wireless Electricity Isn’t New
In fact, Nikola Tesla had already envisioned a wireless electric system more than a century ago. Transcontinental microwave relay stations opened telephone communications between two major continents in the 50s, and recent decades have brought us newer innovations in satellite communication and wireless network.
What makes this wireless electricity system awesome is its high efficiency due to minimal energy loss.
According to Emrod founder Greg Kushnir, its efficiency is almost close to 100%. He added that his system shared the many elements as the typical household oven, which is only at 70% efficiency. But the latest materials being used for energy transmission can help minimize energy loss.
Kushnir also claimed that although they’re not the first company to apply this technology, they’re the first ones to make it a commercially viable solution.
Company officials say there’s no reason to believe the system will not work over long distances. That’s because the beams could be transmitted to hard-to-reach places. Power transmission could even go through mountains and other treacherous terrains that might prove costly for traditional wiring. Other than that, wireless power stations could be deployed quickly during calamities and other emergencies. Kushnir said that the exact, same technology is being used by the Emrod technology – but this time, it’s 100x more capable over large distances.
Some Environmental Concerns
Could innocent wildlife, such as birds, get zapped by the beams? The answer is no. Company officials say that the microwave transmissions will shut off once animals are detected approaching. Facilities with sensitive equipment, such as hospitals, are expected to have some kind of backup since every second is critical during emergencies.
Besides, the levels of density being used are low. It’s just roughly the equivalent of standing during noontime at about 1kW per square meter.
Kushnir said that even bad weather will have no impact on wireless electricity transmission. And should there be a failure, mobile stations attached to trucks could be dispatched right away. The plan is to come up with a solution to harness that abundant, clean energy in a cost-effective and eco-friendly way.
A Wireless Future
The trend of wireless charging is rising, and there’s a reason behind that. The system is still in its early days, but scientists and experts believe that they’ll be able to mitigate these issues through the use of modern technology.
Nikola Tesla would surely be proud, and just as he dreamed, a wireless future could bring us more versatility and connectivity. With countless innovations popping here and there, the future doesn’t seem so distant anymore.