Wireless Power Transmission for Solar Energy

Detailed overview of innovation with sample startups and prominent university research

What it is

Wireless power transmission (WPT) for solar energy involves transmitting solar-generated electricity wirelessly from the solar panels to the point of use. This technology eliminates the need for cables and wires, offering greater flexibility and potentially reducing costs and environmental impact.

Impact on climate action

Wireless Power Transmission for Solar Energy in Distributed Solar PV transforms climate action by enabling efficient energy distribution. By eliminating the need for physical connections, this innovation reduces transmission losses, enhances renewable energy integration, and accelerates the transition to a decentralized, low-carbon energy system, mitigating carbon emissions.

Underlying
Technology

  • Electromagnetic Induction: This method involves using a transmitter coil to create a magnetic field that induces a current in a receiver coil. This technology is used in short-range WPT applications, such as wireless chargers for smartphones.
  • Microwave Power Transmission: This method involves converting electricity into microwaves and transmitting them through the air to a receiver antenna. Microwave power transmission can be used for longer-range WPT applications.
  • Laser Power Beaming: This technology involves using lasers to transmit energy wirelessly. Laser power beaming can be used for very long-range WPT applications, such as transmitting solar energy from space to Earth.

TRL : 3-6 (depending on the specific WPT technology)

Prominent Innovation themes

  • High-Efficiency WPT Systems: Researchers and startups are developing WPT systems with higher transmission efficiencies to minimize energy losses during transmission.
  • Longer-Range WPT: Innovations in microwave power transmission and laser power beaming technologies are extending the range of WPT, making it more feasible for utility-scale solar applications.
  • Dynamic WPT Systems: Researchers are developing dynamic WPT systems that can adjust the transmission parameters based on factors such as distance and receiver location, improving efficiency and reliability.
  • Integration with Solar Farms and Grid Infrastructure: WPT systems are being designed to integrate seamlessly with solar farms and grid infrastructure to enable efficient and reliable power delivery.

Other Innovation Subthemes

  • Efficiency Optimization Techniques
  • Environmental Impact Assessment
  • Scalability and Mass Adoption Strategies
  • Safety Standards and Protocols
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis for Different Applications
  • Interoperability with Existing Infrastructure
  • Reliability and Redundancy Measures
  • Integration with Energy Storage Solutions
  • Advancements in Receiver Technologies
  • Miniaturization and Portability Innovations
  • Economic Viability in Different Geographical Contexts
  • Education and Training Initiatives for Workforce Development
  • Cultural and Societal Impacts of WPT Deployment
  • Intellectual Property and Patent Landscape
  • Addressing Electromagnetic Interference Concerns

Sample Global Startups and Companies

  • Emrod:
    • Technology Enhancement: Emrod specializes in long-range wireless power transmission technology for renewable energy, including solar power. Their system uses electromagnetic waves to transmit power wirelessly over long distances, enabling efficient and remote energy transfer without the need for traditional cables or infrastructure. Emrod’s technology aims to revolutionize the way solar energy is collected, transmitted, and distributed.
    • Uniqueness of the Startup: Emrod stands out for its innovative approach to wireless power transmission, offering a novel solution to overcome the limitations of conventional wired transmission systems. By utilizing electromagnetic waves, Emrod’s technology enables the transmission of solar energy across challenging terrains, remote locations, and sensitive environments, unlocking new possibilities for solar power deployment.
    • End-User Segments Addressing: Emrod serves a diverse range of end-users, including utility-scale solar projects, off-grid communities, remote industries, and military applications. Their wireless power transmission technology offers a flexible and cost-effective solution for transmitting solar energy over long distances, addressing energy access challenges and supporting sustainable development initiatives.
  • Powercast:
    • Technology Enhancement: Powercast specializes in radio frequency (RF) energy harvesting and wireless power transmission solutions. While their primary focus is on low-power applications, such as IoT devices and consumer electronics, their technology can also be adapted for wireless power transmission in solar energy systems. Powercast’s solutions utilize RF energy to wirelessly charge devices and power sensors, offering a convenient and scalable approach to solar energy distribution.
    • Uniqueness of the Startup: Powercast stands out for its expertise in RF energy harvesting and its ability to deliver wireless power over short to medium distances. While not specifically designed for utility-scale solar applications, Powercast’s technology could be integrated into solar-powered devices and infrastructure for localized energy distribution, energy harvesting, and sensor networks.
    • End-User Segments Addressing: Powercast primarily serves industries and applications requiring wireless power solutions for IoT devices, consumer electronics, and industrial automation. While their technology may not directly address utility-scale solar energy transmission, it could be utilized in distributed solar energy systems, smart grids, and IoT-enabled solar devices.
  • WiTricity:
    • Technology Enhancement: WiTricity specializes in magnetic resonance wireless power transfer technology, offering solutions for wireless charging of electric vehicles (EVs), consumer electronics, and industrial applications. While their primary focus is on EV charging, their technology could also be adapted for wireless power transmission in solar energy systems. WiTricity’s solutions enable efficient and flexible wireless energy transfer over short to medium distances.
    • Uniqueness of the Startup: WiTricity stands out for its magnetic resonance wireless power transfer technology, which offers high efficiency and scalability for a wide range of applications. While primarily known for EV charging, WiTricity’s technology could be applied to solar energy systems to enable wireless power transmission within solar farms, microgrids, and smart grid infrastructure.
    • End-User Segments Addressing: WiTricity serves automotive OEMs, electronics manufacturers, and industrial companies seeking wireless power solutions for EVs, consumer electronics, and industrial automation. While their technology is not specifically designed for utility-scale solar energy transmission, it could be integrated into solar energy systems for localized energy distribution and wireless charging applications.

Sample Research At Top-Tier Universities

  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT):
    • Research Focus: MIT is at the forefront of research on Wireless Power Transmission for Solar Energy, focusing on developing advanced technologies for transmitting solar-generated electricity wirelessly over long distances using electromagnetic waves or resonant coupling.
    • Uniqueness: Their research involves exploring novel antenna designs, microwave transmitters, and receiver modules capable of efficiently capturing and converting transmitted energy into usable electricity. They also investigate beamforming techniques, adaptive control algorithms, and safety mechanisms to optimize energy transfer efficiency and mitigate electromagnetic interference.
    • End-use Applications: The outcomes of their work have applications in remote power delivery, space-based solar power, and grid-scale energy transmission. By enabling wireless power transmission from solar farms to distant locations, MIT’s research supports off-grid electrification efforts, disaster relief operations, and sustainable development initiatives, empowering communities with reliable and affordable access to clean energy.
  • Stanford University:
    • Research Focus: Stanford University conducts innovative research on Wireless Power Transmission for Solar Energy, leveraging its expertise in electromagnetics, RF engineering, and energy conversion to develop scalable and efficient wireless energy transfer technologies.
    • Uniqueness: Their research encompasses the development of high-efficiency rectennas (rectifying antennas), resonant coupling systems, and phased array antennas for wireless power transmission. They also investigate the integration of solar panels with wireless power transmission modules to enable simultaneous energy harvesting and transmission.
    • End-use Applications: The outcomes of their work find applications in electric vehicle charging, wearable electronics, and IoT devices. By advancing wireless power transmission technologies, Stanford’s research contributes to reducing reliance on wired infrastructure, extending the reach of renewable energy sources, and enabling new applications in mobility, healthcare, and telecommunications.
  • University of California, Berkeley:
    • Research Focus: UC Berkeley is engaged in cutting-edge research on Wireless Power Transmission for Solar Energy, leveraging its expertise in RF communication, power electronics, and system integration to develop innovative solutions for wireless energy delivery from solar panels.
    • Uniqueness: Their research involves exploring the use of metamaterials, phased arrays, and beam steering techniques to achieve high-efficiency and long-range wireless power transmission. They also investigate the impact of environmental factors, such as weather conditions and terrain topology, on transmission performance and system reliability.
    • End-use Applications: The outcomes of their work have applications in smart cities, agricultural automation, and renewable energy infrastructure. By pioneering wireless power transmission technologies, UC Berkeley’s research supports energy decentralization, grid resilience, and the transition to a more sustainable and connected energy ecosystem.

commercial_img Commercial Implementation

WPT technology is currently used in short-range applications, such as wireless chargers for smartphones and other electronic devices. However, commercial implementation of WPT for utility-scale solar energy transmission is still in its early stages.