Wireless Battery Charging

Detailed overview of innovation with sample startups and prominent university research


What it is

Wireless battery charging, also known as inductive charging or wireless power transfer (WPT), involves transferring energy from a power source to a battery without the need for physical cables or connectors. This technology offers convenience, safety, and efficiency benefits for various applications, including electric vehicles, consumer electronics, and industrial equipment.

Impact on climate action

Wireless Battery Charging in Battery Storage amplifies climate action by streamlining energy storage and utilization. By enabling convenient charging without physical connections, this innovation promotes widespread adoption of electric vehicles and renewable energy systems, reducing carbon emissions, and accelerating the transition to a sustainable, low-carbon energy future.

Underlying
Technology

  • Electromagnetic Induction: Wireless charging typically utilizes electromagnetic induction, where a transmitter coil generates a magnetic field that induces a current in a receiver coil placed in close proximity. This current is then used to charge the battery.
  • Resonant Inductive Coupling: This technology uses resonant circuits in the transmitter and receiver coils to improve efficiency and extend the charging distance.
  • Magnetic Resonance Coupling: This method uses magnetic resonance to transfer energy wirelessly over longer distances compared to traditional inductive charging.

TRL : 7-8 (for short-range applications)

Prominent Innovation themes

  • Dynamic Charging: Dynamic wireless charging allows for charging of electric vehicles while they are in motion, eliminating the need for stationary charging stations and extending the range of EVs.
  • High-Power Wireless Charging: Innovations in power electronics and coil design are enabling higher power levels for wireless charging, making it suitable for larger batteries and faster charging times.
  • Multi-Device Charging: Wireless charging pads and systems are being developed to charge multiple devices simultaneously, improving convenience and reducing clutter.
  • Standardization: Efforts are underway to standardize wireless charging technologies, ensuring interoperability between different devices and charging systems.

Other Innovation Subthemes

  • Efficiency Optimization
  • Electromagnetic Induction Enhancements
  • Advancements in Resonant Inductive Coupling
  • Magnetic Resonance Coupling Applications
  • Dynamic Charging Developments
  • High-Power Wireless Charging Solutions
  • Multi-Device Charging Innovations
  • Standardization Initiatives
  • Wireless Charging Infrastructure Expansion
  • Interoperability Solutions
  • Magnetic Resonance Technology Licensing
  • Fleet Electrification Strategies
  • Residential Wireless Charging Systems
  • Commercial Wireless Charging Solutions
  • Research in Wireless Power Transfer
  • Applications in Robotics
  • Medical Device Integration
  • Consumer Electronics Integration
  • Industrial Equipment Integration

Sample Global Startups and Companies

  1. WiTricity:
    • Technology Enhancement: WiTricity specializes in wireless power transfer technology, enabling the charging of electric vehicles (EVs) and other battery-powered devices without the need for cables or plugs. Their technology, based on magnetic resonance, allows for efficient and high-power transfer over distances, making it suitable for a wide range of applications, including automotive, industrial, and consumer electronics.
    • Uniqueness of the Startup: WiTricity stands out for its pioneering work in wireless charging technology and its focus on commercializing magnetic resonance-based solutions. Their technology offers advantages such as spatial freedom, high efficiency, and interoperability, driving the adoption of wireless charging in EVs and other applications.
    • End-User Segments Addressing: WiTricity serves automotive OEMs, EV charging infrastructure providers, and manufacturers of consumer electronics seeking wireless power transfer solutions. Their technology is deployed in electric vehicle charging stations, industrial automation systems, and consumer electronics products, providing convenient and efficient wireless charging capabilities.
  2. Momentum Dynamics:
    • Technology Enhancement: Momentum Dynamics specializes in wireless charging systems for electric vehicles, focusing on dynamic charging solutions for commercial fleets and public transportation. Their technology enables EVs to charge wirelessly while in motion, using resonant magnetic induction, inductive power transfer, or conductive charging methods. This allows for continuous charging of EVs, eliminating the need for frequent stops and extending their range.
    • Uniqueness of the Startup: Momentum Dynamics stands out for its expertise in dynamic wireless charging technology and its focus on electrifying commercial fleets and public transportation systems. Their solutions offer benefits such as increased uptime, reduced operating costs, and improved fleet efficiency, making them attractive for applications such as electric buses, trucks, and taxis.
    • End-User Segments Addressing: Momentum Dynamics serves fleet operators, municipalities, and transportation agencies seeking innovative charging solutions for electric vehicles. Their dynamic wireless charging systems are deployed in bus depots, taxi stands, and delivery hubs, providing continuous charging capabilities and enabling the electrification of urban transportation networks.
  3. HEVO Power:
    • Technology Enhancement: HEVO Power specializes in wireless charging infrastructure for electric vehicles, with a focus on urban mobility and smart city applications. Their technology utilizes magnetic resonance or inductive charging principles to wirelessly transfer power to EVs parked over designated charging pads. This enables convenient and efficient charging without the need for cables or plugs.
    • Uniqueness of the Startup: HEVO Power stands out for its focus on urban mobility solutions and its integration of wireless charging technology into smart city infrastructure. Their charging systems offer benefits such as reduced street clutter, increased parking flexibility, and enhanced user experience, making them suitable for deployment in urban environments and commercial settings.
    • End-User Segments Addressing: HEVO Power serves municipalities, commercial real estate developers, and transportation companies seeking innovative charging solutions for electric vehicles. Their wireless charging infrastructure is deployed in urban areas, parking facilities, and commercial campuses, providing seamless and convenient charging options for electric vehicle owners.

Sample Research At Top-Tier Universities

  1. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT):
    • Research Focus: MIT is at the forefront of research on Wireless Battery Charging, focusing on developing advanced wireless power transfer (WPT) technologies for charging batteries without the need for physical connections.
    • Uniqueness: Their research involves exploring novel resonant coupling techniques, magnetic field shaping methods, and efficient power conversion architectures to enable high-efficiency wireless charging over short to medium distances. They also investigate integration with smart grids, IoT devices, and electric vehicles to create seamless and scalable wireless charging ecosystems.
    • End-use Applications: The outcomes of their work have applications in consumer electronics, electric vehicles, and stationary energy storage. By eliminating the need for cables and connectors, MIT’s research enables convenient and reliable battery charging in various environments, enhances user experience, and promotes the widespread adoption of electric vehicles and portable electronics.
  2. Stanford University:
    • Research Focus: Stanford University conducts pioneering research on Wireless Battery Charging, leveraging its expertise in electromagnetic theory, power electronics, and wireless communications to develop innovative solutions for efficient and safe wireless power transmission.
    • Uniqueness: Their research encompasses the development of advanced antenna arrays, beamforming algorithms, and adaptive control strategies to optimize energy transfer efficiency, mitigate electromagnetic interference, and ensure compatibility with diverse battery chemistries and form factors. They also explore integration with renewable energy sources, energy management systems, and IoT platforms to enable autonomous and intelligent wireless charging networks.
    • End-use Applications: The outcomes of their work find applications in medical implants, wearable devices, and electric vehicle infrastructure. By enabling wireless battery charging, Stanford’s research enhances device mobility, extends battery lifespan, and facilitates seamless integration with the Internet of Things (IoT), enabling new applications and services in healthcare, transportation, and smart cities.
  3. University of Auckland (New Zealand):
    • Research Focus: The University of Auckland is engaged in innovative research on Wireless Battery Charging, leveraging its expertise in power electronics, signal processing, and wireless communications to develop cost-effective and scalable solutions for wirelessly charging batteries in various environments.
    • Uniqueness: Their research involves investigating novel coil designs, resonance tuning techniques, and adaptive power control algorithms to optimize energy transfer efficiency and maximize charging range while ensuring safety and electromagnetic compatibility. They also explore applications in remote sensing, agricultural automation, and renewable energy storage to address the unique challenges and opportunities in the New Zealand context.
    • End-use Applications: The outcomes of their work have applications in IoT sensors, agricultural drones, and off-grid power systems. By developing wireless battery charging solutions tailored to local needs and conditions, the University of Auckland’s research contributes to enhancing energy access, improving agricultural productivity, and promoting sustainable development in rural and remote communities.

commercial_img Commercial Implementation

Wireless charging is already commercially available for various applications, including:

  • Smartphones and Consumer Electronics: Many smartphones and other consumer electronics devices now support wireless charging, using the Qi standard.
  • Electric Vehicles: Several electric vehicle models offer wireless charging as an option, and wireless charging infrastructure is being deployed in some cities and parking lots.
  • Industrial Equipment: Wireless charging is being used to power industrial robots, drones, and other equipment, improving efficiency and reducing downtime.