What Nikola Tesla first explained a century back is now all set to be a reality. An energy startup from the land down under has figured how to make wireless electricity as reality.
Emrod, an energy startup from New Zealand, explained that all they would need is a clear line of sight to transfer the electricity wirelessly. Emrod’s founder Fred Kushnir said that New Zealand has an abundance of clean energy sources, be it solar, hydro, or wind energy. But they all come with a heavy price tag. The installation costs often skyrocket and at times it’s not even possible to bring certain infrastructures to remote physical locations. An example Kushnir gave was how the offshore wind farms near the Cook Strait require underwater cable, that are very costly to install and maintain.
Emrod plans to remove the need for copper wiring over long stretches of land. This would help them send wireless electricity to places, which have been previously too secluded and remote. Such remote places often rely on diesel generators for their electricity so Emrod’s technology will also help the environment by reducing such harmful technologies.
Kushnir told New Atlas that they are testing over a “tiny” long distance for now. They are sending only a few watts between 130 feet. The technology works with a straight and clear line of sight as the electricity travels as a beam from the source to the receiver.
How will wireless electricity be transmitted?
Electromagnetic waves are sent via “Emrod’s beam shaping, metamaterials and rectenna technology”.
With the rectenna technology, the magnetic waves are converted onto electricity. A square-shaped element set on a pole is where the electricity passes through to continue the beam-formation. As the wireless electricity beams through, a broad surface “catches” the wave. If you’re worried about passing birds getting electrocuted, worry no more. Emrod has put in place a low-power laser fence in order to keep nearby birds safe.
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Talking about power outages, Emrod says it has the option of truck-mounted rectennas that can be driven out to put in place in case a relay leg is missing. Usually, wireless electricity is thought to be difficult to achieve with such technology due to the loss of signal fidelity as it transmits via the air and again via mediating technologies. Yet, Emrod’s relay system allows the beams to be refocused, where there is barely any loss of power.
Kushnir explained how the efficiency of all their components is good, coming to nearly 100%. Most of the power loss occurs on the transmitting side. But Emrod will use solid state for the transmitting side. This is similar to the electronic elements usually found in radar systems. This brings down the efficiency to 70%, but new technologies are being developed daily. So chances are we can soon get wireless electricity directly to our homes, without any loss from the source!
The government of New Zealand as well as the electric utilities department as helping Emrod with this project. The prototype was built with some government aid. Callaghan Innovation, the “innovation agency” of the NZ government. Emrod’s site mentions:
“It has received a Royal Society Award nomination, and New Zealand’s second largest electricity distribution company, Powerco, will be the first to test Emrod technology.”