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New Zealand Is About to Test Long-Range Wireless Power Transmission

Deepak Seth's picture
Sr. Adviser Independent

Deepak Seth was most recently Principal Director, Technology Consulting at Accenture. He provided Innovation and Thought Leadership as part of Accenture's CIO Advisory practice for clients in the...

  • Member since 2019
  • 26 items added with 12,811 views
  • Sep 10, 2020

Matt Chester's picture
Matt Chester on Sep 10, 2020

All I can think of is the famed Arthur Clarke quote:


Nathan Wilson's picture
Nathan Wilson on Sep 13, 2020

Wireless power transmission was studied in the 1970s in the context of space-based solar power.  The pitch was that the beam would have a power density somewhat less than that of sunlight, and the 1 GW receiving antenna would be like a 1 km diameter solar PV array, except that the receiver efficiency is around 90% and the microwave beam would operate day or night, with or without clouds. The idea died because of high cost of the needed space-based construction.

Now these guys are saying they can do the same thing with an antenna small enough to hang on a tower? Or a temporary mobile system?

That's not advanced technology or magic, it's smoke and mirrors.

Yes, a kW scale demo can be made to work over a short distance and this has been done.  The minimum anntena size for efficient coupling is viable, as the minum size is proportional to the distance divided by the wavelength; the space based system used a distance of 20,300 miles, so 20 miles should be no problem.  However, the beam power density is a problem for MW-scale applications; a low power-density beam requires very large antennas again (at 200W/m^2, each MW requires 5000m^2); anything brighter than a couple of suns counts as a death-ray which is a serious hazard; their proposed solution of turning-off the beam whenever a bird gets in the way sounds inadequate.  The Earth is not flat, so line-of sight does not give much range, unless the tower is very tall.  There is also a huge problem getting radio spectrum, since much of the spectrum is unusable in bad weather, and for what is left, consumers place a huge value on cellular data, video, and broadband access).

Matt Chester's picture
Matt Chester on Sep 14, 2020

When you say it's smoke and mirrors, are you saying they're intentionally pushing a tech that they know won't work out the way they want in an effort to get funding dollars? Or are they just naive and believing their own hype? 

Deepak Seth's picture
Deepak Seth on Sep 14, 2020

Emrod's website mentions:

- Emrod uses beams in the ISM (Industrial, Scientific, and Medical) band with frequencies commonly used in WiFi, Bluetooth, and RfID.

-Emrod’s patented beam shaping and meta material technology creates columnated beams that safely transmit power over many kilometres

-The technology we use for power transmission is not affected by weather or atmospheric conditions such as rain, fog or dust.

Bob Meinetz's picture
Bob Meinetz on Sep 11, 2020

And like the legions before them who've succumbed to the irresistible attraction of wireless power transmission, ever since Nikola Tesla's doomed Wardenclyffe Tower dramatically underperformed in 1904, the history-challenged inventors will fail.

At least they'll be in good company.

Deepak Seth's picture
Thank Deepak for the Post!
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