Wireless power set to take off – Frost and Sullivan

24 February 2009

Wireless power has tremendous potential and scientists are considering several technologies, according to new analysis from Frost & Sullivan.

Wireless power will be particularly sought after in process control
Wireless power will be particularly sought after in process control

The business research and consulting firm pinpointed process control as an area that will greatly benefit from a reduction in wires that represent a burden in terms of cost and maintenance.

In ‘Wireless Power Supplies and Contactless Energy Transfer’, Frost and Sullivan finds that induction based wireless power could represent the next wave in powering portable electronics.

The company says wireless power has tremendous potential in various industries including consumer electronics, automotive, and process control. The power and energy industry is investing substantially in research on large-scale wireless energy transfer, as space-based solar power systems are attracting attention as an alternative form of energy to meet energy demands in the long term. If adopted, this technology will facilitate the use of all electrical devices, which is a highly sought-after purchase factor when choosing cell phones or laptops.

Sharmishta S. and Agata Jozwicka, Technical Insights research analysts, said as natural deposits, such as coal and petroleum, deplete we will have to look to alternative energy sources.

‘If Earth-based natural energy sources will not satisfy the world's energy needs, space solar power systems could become the only alternative.’

As the home automation trend is catching on, several companies have developed wireless

Universities are researching ways to improve efficiency over longer ranges. Wireless power transfer is highly efficient at short distances; however, there tends to be substantial power losses when the transfer distance increases. In the case of power-hungry devices such as industry machines or even laptops, the transfer should be efficient enough to enable rapid recharging and should not interfere with the continuous working of the device during the recharge. Even wired chargers are not considered completely reliable since they heat up while charging, dissipating energy through heat.

Scientists are studying techniques such as resonant induction, microwaves, and lasers although currently, these methods limit the amount of power that can be transmitted.

Jozwicka said that some devices are large and there has to be ‘trade-offs among the size of the devices, the proximity between the transmitter and receiver, and the amount of power to be used to recharge the device.

‘There is a need for complementary electronics capable of working at higher frequencies to improve the efficiency of the wireless power transfer.’

Even if all these performance requirements are met, potential users will still be wary about the safety of wireless energy transfer.

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