Wireless Transmission of Electricity
The Nature of wireless Transmission
The dynamic and evolving world presents humanity with the increasing need to modify the environment and resources in order to adapt to these emerging situations. Electricity is part and parcel of human life and its transmission is normally one of the most important factors in question. While electricity has always been transmitted through wires since its discovery, a new technology is emerging which can effectively eliminate the need to use wires in the transmission of electricity. Indeed, Wireless Energy Transmission is becoming a much interesting area of study for most researchers in the field. It is basically a method of delivering electric power from the source to the end-use product without the use of wires or any other contacts as presently realized Aldrich, 2005()
Wireless data applications have become a common day affair in the technology industry. Similarly, the increase in portable electronic devices has greatly created a huge potential for wireless power transmission technology. As such, the technology is under much research as scientists are working on the best ways and means to improve its efficiency and ensure its effectiveness as much as possible.
Most industries are already evaluating the existing wireless transmission technology in order to adopt. This is basically done with an objective of enhancing efficiency and reducing the cost of power. Such technology also offers a good opportunity for replacing batteries which are normally associated with a lot of inconveniences. However, like in any technological feat, challenges and shortcomings certainly abound. It is nevertheless hoped that these challenges will be effectively addressed in order to make the technology reliable and widely adopted.
Development of the Technology
Indeed, the development of this technology has often been necessitated by its growing need. Presently, much success has surely been realized. Several companies are already in the market showcasing their wireless electricity products to would-be buyers. The basic concept of this technology is the need to create a wireless energy zone in a particular area after which electric devices can effectively draw their power wirelessly from the source. This effectively eliminates the need to use wires and other connecting devices or to worry about electric devices like laptops losing their battery charge. It must however be remembered that the use of wireless electricity transmission technology must always be geared towards solving a particular problem. In this regard, the major challenge realized with the present transmission mechanism is the use of wires which are normally associated with many inconveniences. It is therefore important that the wireless technology does not in any way create further inconveniences for the end user.
The designers of wireless power transmission have always been targeting particular industry segments which face the greatest challenges with the present wire transmission mechanism. The existing products in the market that utilize this technology are mostly those that use inductive coupling in which case the recipient device and the power source have to be in close proximity to one another. The technology in use presently does not however allow the use of high-power application devices. While many advantages ad efficiencies might be associated with the use of wireless, transmission, technologic constraints still make the method much more expensive that the conventional technique in use presently “Wireless Electricity, Smart Phones, Bargain Hardware,” 2009()
The use of microwave power transmission is also used in the transfer of power wirelessly through the use of electromagnetic waves. In this method, the advantages and disadvantages associated with electromagnetic waves are normally realized. The waves are emitted in all directions from the source and this could create a major challenge in public areas. In the same way, the transmission of power through laser has its own set of safety implications that makes the whole process a risky affair. It is therefore clearly realized that the major milestone that has to be covered in the use of wireless transmission basically concerns the aspects of human safety. The health implications associated with some of these transmission technologies coupled with electrical interference realized in others are some of the main issues that researchers are still battling with before the wireless transmission process becomes a major success. However, the ability to transmit electric power wirelessly albeit the challenges is certainly a great leap in the technological front GoAnen, 1999()
After the successful elimination of all the major challenges realized in this transmission, several industries will certainly be eager to adopt the use of this technology as a way of enhancing their efficiency and reducing certain challenges. More importantly, the portable electronics industry will be the major end-user of this technology and is indeed the major driving force behind this research process. For instance, portable devices such as iPods, mobile phones computers are some of the major products that can greatly benefit from this technology.
Wireless data communication has gained much prominence courtesy of several technologies at play. If that technology is combined with the wireless electricity transmission, the electronic devices will therefore become purely wireless Padiyar, 2011.
Another major application of this technology would be in transducers and sensors. Similarly a great market potential for this technology lies in the medical field through medical sensor devices such as pacemakers and defibrillators.
Wireless power transmission will have a wide application in areas where power cables have always proven to be quite inconvenient. It would also eliminate most of the batteries, power cells and fuel cells that are presently used in several applications. Inductive charging stations will soon appear as a replacement to some of the many wires seen in several places. The power stations act as the transmission bases where electric power is transmitted to the receivers which have been connected to the electric devices such as mobile phones. Sony has already unveiled new LCD television sets that use inductive charging as their sources for power. Such televisions are completely wireless and should always be placed at a given distance from the power source in order to function wirelessly.
While wireless power transmission technology might appears a relatively new phenomenon in the technological industry, the use of microwave power beaming is not certainly a new concept. Microwave power beaming has been in use for the past 50 years as a way of transmitting power. However, the challenges associated with this transmission often made the whole process delicate and inefficient to use on a global scale Wikle, 2002.
However, most of these challenges have effectively been addressed and the whole process can now be used.
Much research in the wireless transmission technology is focused on increasing the transmission distances of this means and the efficiency of the transmission. For instance, microwave transmission has only realized a maximum transmission efficiency of 85% which is deemed to be a bit low. Such an efficiency level leads to the wastage of a great amount of power if used on a larger scale. Much of the ongoing studies are therefore geared towards limiting most of the wastage that can be realized courtesy of transmitting electric power over long distances at the minimal wastage possible.
Economic and Political Implications
While the technology might soon become widely adopted courtesy of its efficiencies, a worthwhile investment in the whole process must be economically feasible before being undertaken. The implementation of the whole technology can only be carried out in the event that it is certainly proven that it can cut the costs realized in the present scenario. The United States Army spends a lot of money on fuel in order to power some of its bases abroad. In the same way, most combats in modern wars are targeted at the enemy’s fuel sources in order to cripple them. Considering some of these losses and the challenges that the army has to face courtesy of conventional fuel, a successful application of the wireless power transmission would become very appropriate in limiting some of these challenges and reducing some of the great expenses realized in the process.
The greatest applications of the wireless energy transmission will mostly be realized in the military. This is basically because the initial venture will require a high capital outlay which might not be raised by most sectors. Presently, Unmanned Aerial Vehicles that use wireless energy transmission have already been experimented by the military Hochman, 2009.
Such aircraft rely on power that is transmitted through surface to air power beaming. The technology will therefore soon be used in powering even manned aircraft like helicopters and even civilian aircraft if the technology allows. However, the whole application process is not a one-day affair but requires much research and time in order to be successfully undertaken Wilson, 2005()
The initial stage involves the military developing and creating the necessary infrastructure and equipment that can allow for power beaming technology. This will surely involve a high capital outlay hence the need for the military to spearhead the undertaking. The power beaming technology can then be used in a wide range of applications after the necessary infrastructure has been put into place. The second stage of the process will involve developing the stratospheric platforms that can be used in routing electric power from the power plants that will be established to the source areas scattered all over the world.
The last stage will involve the full utilization of the space power technology where clean and efficient space power will effectively be used to light and power the world. While many of these ideas might seem years from full implementation, it is imperative to stress that the major step in the whole process has actually been undertaken and the present research is only focused on modifications and limiting wastage. Without doubt, the development of wireless solar power will greatly reduce the reliance on fossil fuels that is presently realized in the world.
The use and development of wireless power transmission transcends all facets of modern life. It will be applied in the low grade charging stations to the huge industrial applications in providing cheap and clean power across the world. While the initial investment might be too costly and challenging for most sectors, the benefits of the whole process will surely outweigh these costs. These benefits will range from both financial advantages to environmental benefits.
The wireless power transmission is not actually a single technological process. It is basically a combination of different technologies in place which are geared towards achieving the same end result. In this way, different researchers are actually experimenting with different technologies ranging from the use of microwaves to inductive beaming. This certainly offers wide range of possibilities and applications to which the whole technology can be applied. The whole research process analyses the key drivers for the process and different applications of the end product.
The four major modes of transmission that are currently under much focus and study include radio frequency, electromagnetic induction, microwaves and laser beams. The different technologies have their own sets of advantages and disadvantages and are at different stages of development. They are basically categorized on the basis of such factors like method of energy transfer, medium of transmission, degree of maturity of applications and the range of energy transfer. On the other hand, the obstacles in the application of these methods are also currently under study and these range from biological to environmental impacts.
The environmental impacts of the wireless transmission mechanism are actually far reaching. Indeed, the method will offer a better way of mitigating and reducing the challenge of electronic waste through the elimination of wires in the electric transmission process. Indeed external power supplies constitute so much waste that is always raising a lot of environmental concerns. Millions of tons of electronic waste can effectively be avoided through the use of wireless transmission of power. Much of this waste is normally disposed by incineration which releases a lot of toxic waste into the atmosphere in the form of carbon products. This would become a past story if the new technology is effectively used and managed “Wireless Electricity, Smart Phones, Bargain Hardware,” 2009()
Psychological and Sociological Implications
The use of wireless power transmission would gain a lot of popularity and application due to the mere public perception regarding its safety to human beings and the environment. The adoption of this method would therefore be quick considering that people will have already leant the advantages and benefits of this new transmission mechanism. However, this would only be after the necessary safeguard measures are taken into account and the present safety challenges addressed effectively Adamson, 2001()
In the medical field, the use of wireless power transmission in equipment will actually require a lot of safety measures in order to limit any chances for accidents or risks that could occur in the process. It would therefore require a lot of testing and experimentation before the medical devices are actually commercially used in the hospitals. In this regard, it is seen that the developmental phase of the process is the most demanding and expensive Dan ()
. It therefore creates the need to appropriately fund the process and effectively take all necessary factors into account.
In the mobile phone industry, the whole wireless transmission technology will actually be a success albeit with its own share of challenges. While the developers will actually encourage the phone manufacturers to adopt the technology in order to eliminate the need for conventional chargers, much of these efforts might not be easily accepted by most of these manufacturers. This is mostly because the sale of chargers usually forms a large share of the profits that these manufacturers make in the form of accessory sales. They would therefore be much unwilling to easily forego this large profit by adopting the use of the wireless transmission of power in the new handsets. In this regard, some executives of these companies have relayed their skepticisms and doubts on the whole technology on the simple premise that it would not profitably benefit their organizations.
The evolution and development of the wireless transmission of power is therefore a great opportunity and prospect for power industry across the world. Research and development into the new field can open doors for other discoveries and developments which can effectively lead to the maturity and development of the technology to greater heights. In the same way, the application and use of the technology will require the further harmonization and development of international and universal standards. These protocols would become necessary for the use of the wireless transmission off power across the world.
More importantly, it has to be realized that the use of wireless transmission of power will create the need for a complete redesigning of the electronic devices and other instruments that will use this technology. These devices will have to be developed taking account of the universal standards that will have been instituted. In any case, it is clearly seen that the adoption of this technology will certainly revolutionize most sectors and industries across the world and will set into motion new research and studies on other related areas of concern.
The reliability and stability of this mechanism is one of the greatest factors of concern when evaluating its efficiency. Most skeptics have said that except in cases where there is a risk of damage of the wiring, the benefits of the wired transmission will always outweigh those of this wireless mechanism. However, it must be remembered that the efficiency and effectiveness of this mechanism transcends the simple fact that it eliminates the need for wires in the transmission of electricity. The method will also enable airplanes and other vehicles to fly without the need to carry large volumes of liquid fuel as presently realized.
Ethical and Moral Implications
Ethically, the new technology will create the need for a total overhaul of the character ad behavior of the masses with regard to technology. This is certainly a new change that will have to be embraced by all and sundry. Nevertheless, the transmission of power wirelessly will not fail to have its own challenges and limitations in the process. The environment is normally subject to so many changes and these could affect the transmission process or block the whole process. In the same way, environmental changes like sunlight and temperature variations might interfere with the amount of power transmitted through the environment Ranganathan, 2004.
Such factors form the basis of the present research that is focused on mitigating some of these practical challenges that would be realized in the process.
In conclusion, it is realized that wireless power transmission is certainly a new field that can certainly address some of the challenges often realized in the present transmission of power through wires and other contacts. The success of this method will nevertheless depend upon its proper application and the provision of the necessary enabling environment which will facilitate its adoption. While challenges are part and parcel of every new technological undertaking, it is greatly hoped that most of these limitations presently realize din the experimental stages will effectively be addressed before the technology is adopted for commercial usage. In the same way, the adoption of this technology might not completely eliminate the need for using other transmission methods due to some of its shortcomings. However, it is hoped that the use of wireless transmission of power will soon become part and parcel of the power industry.
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