Power Electronics

Wireless Power Supplies and Contactless Energy Transfer

A report from Frost & Sullivan, entitled "Wireless Power Supplies and contact Energy Transfer" deals with the transmission of power from a source to a receiver or load without wires and through an air gap if the transfer is contactless. Wireless and contactless power transfer is mainly used for powering sensors, wireless sensors, automated guided vehicles, personal electronic devices, etc. For most industrial applications this is possible through the principle of inductive power transfer, based on unconventional transformers with large air-gaps.

Wireless power could be potentially disruptive to wired chargers that are currently used to transfer energy to portable electronics owing to the comfort it provides in charging multiple devices, either on a charging pad or within an area such as a room. Other benefits especially in industrial applications owing to the elimination of mess created by wires and the added costs incurred from maintenance, and so on. Wireless transfer could also be used to power sensors and could be combined with energy harvesting techniques to power devices in the vicinity.

Several application areas would benefit from the adoption of wireless power transfer technologies. The foremost among these are industrial and consumer electronics segments that are positioned to receive the maximum benefits in the short terms. One aspectof wirelessly charging several devices irrespective of both the company that supplies the product and the specifications of the device is the standardization of the charging scheme. Wireless power can also be used to power automated robots for surgical applications since using wires in such areas may be cumbersome and pose risks.

Conventional resources of energy becoming scarce, so it is also driving developments in space solar power systems (SPS) where space-based solar panels acquire energy from the sun and beam it down to earth through microwaves or laser-based techniques, which require line of sight operations. Results of these developments would take over 20 more years to be seen, several legal and political repercussions may have to be dealt with before its adoption.

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