Scientists at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory believe in the Tesla invention that power beaming could be the next big thing in energy, capable of wireless powering devices and delivering electricity from miles away.
Edison and Tesla were both involved in the War of the Electrical Currents in the late 1880’s, with Edison promoting the use of direct current (DC) for power distribution.
However Edison held the patents, with Tesla supporting AC current, as it allowed large quantities of energy to be transmitted to power large cities. In the end Tesla was found dead in his hotel room so that Edison became the man to write history.
Basic physics and recent advances in transmission and reception technologies could one day provide power without needing electricity grids—potentially reducing the need for fuel transportation or batteries to store energy.
If power beaming technology and/or nuclear fusion could be successfully scaled up from experimental stages, it could be a game-changer for the green energy revolution.
Even though it’s still in its early stages, researchers at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory believe it has the potential to upend the way energy is distributed on Earth, in space, and from space to Earth.
The ideas and experiments have been around for decades. Yet, only recently, the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory announced the most significant power beaming demonstration in nearly 50 years.
The team has recently demonstrated the feasibility of terrestrial microwave power beaming by transmitting 1.6 kilowatts of power over 1 kilometer as part of the project Safe and COntinuous Power bEaming—Microwave (SCOPE-M).
The researchers used a 10 gigahertz (GHz) microwave beam, which they believe is a great choice because the component technology is cheap and mature, and even in heavy rainfall, the loss of power is less than 5%.
The systems of microwave power beaming use transmitters that typically use solid-state electronic amplifiers and phased-array, parabolic, or meta-material antennas.
The receiver, called a rectenna, can convert electromagnetic energy into direct current electricity in wireless power transmission systems.
The team has found that it is possible to use a beam with such power density that is safe for birds, animals, and people. Moreover, efficiencies of power beaming within safety limits can exceed 70%, more than double that of a typical solar cell.
During the course of our demonstration, the system further proved itself when, on several occasions, birds flew toward the beam, shutting it off—but only momentarily.
You see, the system monitors the volume the beam occupies, along with its immediate surroundings, allowing the power link to automatically reestablish itself when the path is once again clear.
The DOD believes that power beaming of space to Earth, for example, could mitigate the reliance on the fuel supply for troops, which can be vulnerable to attack.
According to Christopher Rodenbeck, Ph.D., Head of the Advanced Concepts Group at NRL, power beaming could be the ultimate green technology, which can provide power 24/7, unlike other sources of clean energy.
That is something no other form of clean energy can do today,” Rodenbeck said. “From the standpoint of technology readiness level, I feel we are very close to demonstrating a system we can truly deploy and use in a DOD application.
Besides the DOD, there are NGO companies and start-ups working with and developing power beaming technology, which could power smart grids and create a wireless global energy network.
As such companies establish proven track records for safety and make compelling arguments for the utility of their systems, we are likely to see whole new architectures emerge for sending power from place to place.
Oil Price.com / ABC Flash Point News 2022.