New Zealand Tests Wireless Power Lines
New Zealand startup Emrod is developing a long-distance wireless transmission system with government support to replace traditional transmission lines.
Since the days of Nikola Tesla, many engineers have tried to develop a practical technology for transmitting large amounts of electricity through the air that could be used on an industrial scale. Although it is based on the same conversion principles as in any radio system, in this case, due to the high power, the key parameter is efficiency.
Engineers at Emrod claim to have found a solution to this problem by combining ideas from optical and radar systems with metamaterials. Unlike cell towers and radio antennas, the quasi-optical system they create converts electricity into a focused cylindrical microwave beam, directing it to the matrix of the next receiver. Thus, energy can be transferred along the chain and distributed among consumers..
The specific signal power is about 1 kW per m2, therefore, lasers are located at the edges of the receiver panels, aimed at the sensor matrix of the previous transmitter. If at least one of the signals is interrupted, for example, by a flying bird, then the system stops generating microwave radiation for this time..
The team is currently working on a system that transmits power over a distance of 40 meters, which should begin field trials next year. The current prototype works indoors at a distance of two meters. The technology bottleneck is the transmitter, whose component efficiency is about 70%, but the development of 5G will help modernize the system.
The New Zealand government has already become interested in the project and has begun to support the company. The authorities want to know about the possibility of using the technology to supply power to remote areas and places with difficult terrain, where the installation and maintenance of traditional power lines is huge..
Recall that to reduce the cost of maintaining power grids in China began to use autonomous robots.
text: Ilya Bauer, photo: Emrod