A research team from the U.N. Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) has successfully demonstrated wireless power transmission over a distance of 1 kilometer (0.621 miles), the US Navy said in a press release.
The idea of transmitting energy wirelessly has been around for decades, but it’s gaining momentum again as humanity seeks to change the way they use energy. Although the concept of building solar farms on other planets & beaming back power to Earth is still a long way off. In reality, the US military could ensure the energy security of its troops as it seeks to reduce its reliance on fossil fuels.
The SCOPE-M Project
On behalf of the US military, the Undersecretary of Defense’s for Research and Engineering Operational Energy Capability improvement funded a project at the NRL to test point-to-point transmission of electrical energy using microwaves and called it “Safe and Continuous Power beaming.” “. – Microwave (SCOPEM)”.
Within 12 months of the project, the NRL research team demonstrated a ground-based application of the technology by beaming power, at not one but two locations, one at the U.S Army Research Field in Maryland and the other at The Haystack Ultrawideband Satellite Imaging Radar Transmitter (HUSIR) at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
Both facilities used the 10 gigahertz microwave beam, as the technology is known to be safe for humans, animals and birds, yet inexpensive to operate.
Paul Jaffe, Power Beaming & Space Solar lead at project, said earlier experiments with laser powering, engineers had-to build systems that would stop beam transmission if something got in their way. However, since the power density was intrinsically safe at the 10 GHz frequency, such systems were not needed in the SCOPEM project.
How was it done?
The principle of power transmission is simple. The electricity is first converted into microwaves and then transmitted as a narrow beam to the receiver, which is equipped with a rectifying antenna or rectenna. In wireless power transmission systems, a rectenna is an antenna with a rectifier diode capable of converting electromagnetic energy into direct current.
By installing these systems, the NRL team was able to transmit power wirelessly at both locations. In Maryland, researchers managed to transmit 1.6 kW of power, well above their 60% target. Although the team at MIT didn’t achieve the same peak power, the average power transmitted was higher, resulting in more energy being delivered.
“Although SCOPE-M was a ground-based power beaming link, it was a good proof of concept for a space power beaming link,” said Brian Tierney, electronics engineer at project. “The primary benefit of space-to-earth power beaming for Department of Defense is to reduce reliance on fuel supplies for troops which can be potentially vulnerable to attack.