The dawn of wireless electricity was actually over a hundred years ago, as far as the science was concerned. However, technology usually takes time to catch up. A great example of this is that scientists have moved molecules a very short distance across a vacuum. The projection is that the science of “Beam me up, Scotty”, from Star Trek, has now been proven. However, who knows when the technology of transporting objects/people over small, or vast, distances will actually happen. An intriguing thought, and an accolade to human ingenuity. The number of ideas and products that we use today that first appeared in the public domain in Star Trek and Star Wars is quite phenomenal.
On a much more mundane front, but an exciting one nevertheless, is the possibility of transmitting electric power over distance, without wires.
Unlike “Beam me up, Scotty”, this technology already exists, and is primed for a utility-scale pilot program this year.
The Government of New Zealand, working with Powerco, the country’s second-largest electricity distributor, and Emrod, who developed the technology, will jointly conduct the program.
Think of it. No more power cables scarring the environment, either in the countryside or down your street.
The concept of transmitting electricity wirelessly is linked to Nikola Tesla in the 1890’s, but it has taken technology this long to catch up to that dream.
The issue has always been control. How do you send electricity across a distance without it dissipating on route? The major concern has been what it might so to whatever, and whoever, it might touch in the process. Mad scientists frying people with lasers comes to mind.
Emrod has developed a way of confining the power beam so there is no “spray” effect. They have developed a technology that automatically cuts the power if it encounters anything in its path, like a bird, a helicopter or a person.
I must admit that I still don’t understand the technology fully, so I have subscribed to the company’s website to learn much more. I will pass on what I learn, in future blogs.
However, the fact that the New Zealand Government will be conducting utility-sized tests this year means they’ve been convinced it works. Hence it’s worth following closely.
The idea that it might be possible to eliminate all those ugly wires that destroy the tranquillity of bucolic scenes, and take away the opportunity for young people to hang their sneakers over power lines on your street, is fascinating. It also raises the possibility of providing power to remote areas, where current transmission infrastructure costs are prohibitive, because of distance and terrain. It could also eliminate the huge power cables that take the electricity generated by sea and ocean-mounted wind turbines to the land.
Much more to come on the dawn of wireless electricity.