It will establish unimaginable ways to consume electricity
Even though imperceptible and massive wireless electricity transmission still seems to be a subject of science fiction, the truth is that more than 100 hundred years ago, Nikola Tesla already dreamt and committed to it. The scientist drastically contributed to the electric technology with inventions such as the induction motor, an honour he shares with the Italian Galileo Ferraris. He worked on wireless electricity transmission and aspired to transmit it from coast to coast of the Atlantic Ocean. In order to do that, he designed and built the Wardenclyffe tower, whose concept can be seen here. Sadly, this project was thwarted by lack of funding before the scientist could completely prove the feasibility of long-distance wireless electricity transmission.
The first devices that were able to wirelessly recharge used magnetic induction, a physical phenomenon used for example, in electrical transformers. But this process can only transmit a large quantity of energy if the means used have a high magnetic permeability or if they are closer than a few centimetres from one another. The technologies that are being developed now achieve better results and utilise resonant coupling between emitter and receptor. So, recently scientists at the Massachusetts Technological Institute (MIT) managed to wirelessly light a 60 watts lightbulb using two coils and resonant coupling from a distance of several metres. These developments meant a boost for private companies to market products such as wireless chargers for electrical vehicles or wireless chargers for electronic items such as computers or mobile phones. For example, the company Reach Labs is preparing a wireless electrical supply grid for buildings that could feed mobile sensors located, for example, inside a factory, reducing the needs for maintenance and improving the sending of information. Another example that has not been marketed yet and that we do not know how further it can go, is what companies such as HEVO present. They propose a way to facilitate the charging process of vehicles in their parking spaces, which if effective, could allow the charging of cars while driving, as Qualcomm proposes here.
Without any doubt, future technology developments will reduce the price of these systems and make them more efficient, so they may be present in our motorways, our offices and homes. Maybe in this future, we will not need batteries in our devices and, in the same way they receive information by Wi-Fi, they will receive energy and recharge just by being at home, without plugs.
Inmaculada Saboya Bautista
Inmaculada holds a PhD in Engineering from Universidad Pontificia de Comillas and forms part of Norvento’s microgrid team. Contact Inmaculada