Wireless electricity transmission is the technology that allows electric devices and appliances to be fully operational and functional with a source of electricity that does not require the use of cables.
For example, wireless electricity should allow you to use your blender without having to plug in any cable to a wall; just start using it for blending anytime, anywhere. Or just being able to charge your phone or laptop without needing to worry about a charger.
Wireless technology is technologically challenging yet a possible concept as motivated by a famous engineering quote by Stephen Hawking, “If radio waves (think of network signals or WiFi) can travel through the air without the use of cables, then why can’t electricity?”
How it works
Wireless electricity works through a system where a transmitter device, driven by an electric power from a power source, generates a time-varying electromagnetic field that has the capability of transporting power across space to a receiver device, which in turn extracts power from this field and supplies it to an electrical load.
The most important point to note is that both the source of electricity and the target device must have magnetic coils installed in them that resonate at the same frequency. This allows electricity to be converted into an electromagnetic field from the source and then transferred to the target device where the electromagnetic energy is converted back into electricity. This means to increase the range of energy reception, the magnetic coils must be increased.
The journey so far
The journey to making the wireless electricity technology a reality has seen many faces over the course of technological evolution. It actually started way back in the 19th century: James Clerk Maxwell, in the 1860s, gave a concise explanation of the phenomena of wireless electricity with the Maxwell’s equation, establishing a theory that unified electricity and magnetism to electromagnetism, predicting the existence of electromagnetic waves as the “wireless” carrier of electromagnetic energy. This was followed by proposed theories from John Henry Poynting (on Poynting vector and Poynting’s theorem) in 1884 and Heinrich Rudolf Hertz in 1888, which led to the validation of the theory, which included the evidence for radio waves.
Then in 1890, inventor Nikola Tesla performed series of experiments using the existing inductive and capacitive coupling using the Tesla coils to later come up with the resonant inductive coupling method, which is now mostly used in short-range wireless power systems.
Further research led to the development of the RFID (Radio Frequency Identification), the microwaves and lasers and the more advanced nanocrystal electricity. Nanocrystals are material particles having at least one dimension smaller than 100 nanometers, based on quantum dots and composed of atoms in either a single or poly-crystalline arrangement. The electricity generation nanocrystals are based on Silicon and various organic conductors. Even though research on nanocrystal electricity to as a wireless electricity is still at its infancy, it has been established that it will be able to provide wireless electricity (contactless electric power access to enabled devices) at lower costs, provide cleaner electrical power generation and ultimately with an efficiency of not less than 65%.
How’s this useful?
With the invention of the nanocrystal electricity, the possibilities are endless. It has the potential to change our view of the world entirely. As nanocrystal electricity works flawlessly as a source of electricity as well as charges everything through the air, we’ll completely be wire-free.
This will mean you will never run out of battery on your phone or laptop or tablet, you can power your portable electric stove in your car and cook your favorite meal right in the car in the middle of a long journey. This also suggests a future with no combustion engines in cars, but batteries which will never stop for fuel because they’ll never run out of power. In the medical field, patients will no longer have to be in bed beside huge machines for their vital stats to be monitored; they can just their normal evening stroll around the ward without losing insight of their vital data being monitored. Interestingly, all those fire outbreaks and accidents caused by huge electricity transformers and the electricity cable we see around will be no more.
The future of wireless electricity is not too far from us as experimentalists have been able to produce working prototypes of these novel inventions. So get ready for an exciting future that is completely wireless☺.
Written by: Augustine Nana Sekyi Appiah