Technology 3 min read

Wireless Electricity Transmission Becomes a Reality in New Zealand

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As far-fetched as it sounds, wireless electricity transmission has been around for a while.

In the 1980s, Nikola Tesla proved that he could power light bulbs with a 140-foot Tesla coil. Although the electrical genius’s venture plunged the entire town into a blackout, it was a success.

Tesla imagined erecting towers that would transmit wireless electricity to every corner of the world. Along with homes and businesses, Tesla dreamed of powering giant electric ships on the ocean remotely.

It’s not just Nikola Tesla. English theoretical physicist and cosmologist, Stephen Hawkings also believed that wireless electricity could power the world one day.

“If radio waves (think of network signals or WiFi) can travel through the air without the use of cables, then why can’t electricity?” asked Hawkings.

Last year, a team of researchers developed a device that turns WiFi signals into electricity.

However, a startup, Emrod, has taken things to a whole new level. Emrod is working with New Zealand‘s second-largest power distributor—Powerco— to trial the world’s first commercial long-range wireless power transmission.

In a statement, Network Transformation Manager at Powerco, Nicolas Vessiot said:

“We’re interested to see whether Emrod’s technology can complement the established ways we deliver power. We envisage using this to deliver electricity in remote places, or across areas with challenging terrain.”

Here’s how it works.

The World’s First Commercial Long-Range Wireless Electricity Transmission

The system relies on three components to transmit power wirelessly. These include a transmitting antenna, a series of relays, and a rectenna — a rectifying antenna that can convert microwave energy into electricity.

The beams use the non-ionizing industrial, scientific and medical band of the radio spectrum. It also includes frequencies commonly used in Bluetooth and WiFi.

With these, the power distribution company can beam power directly between two points with no radiation around the beam. Also, a “low power laser safety curtain” shuts down power transmission before any object can touch the main beam.

Emrod points out that the system works in any atmospheric condition. These include rain, fog, and dust.

Besides, the transmission distance is only limited by the line of sight between each relay. So, it can potentially transmit power thousands of kilometers at a lesser cost and environmental impact than a wired solution.

Thanks to this cut in infrastructure cost, Emrod can deliver wireless power to remote communities in Africa and the Pacific Islands. The system can provide sustainable energy for schools, hospitals, and economies.

Read More: New Prototype Device can Generate Electricity From Shadows

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Sumbo Bello

Sumbo Bello is a creative writer who enjoys creating data-driven content for news sites. In his spare time, he plays basketball and listens to Coldplay.

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