Nikola Tesla’s vision becomes reality with Emrod


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Nikola Tesla’s project to create long-range wireless power transmission was not successful in the 19th century. But his vision included the possibility of getting wireless power anywhere that would create great opportunities today. Nowadays, technological improvements in radar and advanced materials technology make this possible. Emrod, a New Zealand startup, has partnered with Powerco, a New Zealand-based power distribution company, and has developed a larger prototype system, to test the technology early this year. Energy is transmitted by electromagnetic waves over long distances using Emrod’s proprietary beam-forming technology, metamaterials and Rectina. In an interview with EE Times, Emrod CEO Greg Kushner explained how Emrod’s wireless system works by converting electricity into microwave energy, which is then molded into a parallel beam and sent directly through the air from a transmitting antenna to a receiving antenna. Upon reaching the receiving antenna, the electromagnetic energy is converted back into electricity for consumers to use. According to the company, this technology can be upgraded to wirelessly transmit kilowatts of electricity over very large distances. Emrod was incorporated as a company in 2019 after the successful completion of a feasibility study to confirm the feasibility of the technology. The company later demonstrated the proof-of-concept system, and is currently undergoing testing at an in-house facility, ahead of a planned field trial. Kushner said Emrod’s team consists of 10 people, but has plans to grow significantly over the next 12 months to support pilot project implementation, ongoing research and development and marketing. Figure 1: Tesla’s Technology for Emrod’s Team Since the 1890s, Nikola Tesla has been thinking about wireless power while working on a “Tesla coil” transformer circuit that generates alternating current electricity. Tesla’s first real experiment with wireless electricity occurred in 1899 in Colorado Springs. He built a powerful oscillator within a barn-like structure with a wooden tower surmounted by a 40-meter metal pole with a copper ball on top. The inventor demonstrated that he could turn on light bulbs from a distance of more than 3 kilometers (two miles). His ‘Tesla coil’ worked perfectly, but the experiment burned out the Colorado Springs Power Company’s dynamo, leaving the entire community in the dark (Fig. 1). Figure 2: The “Barn Tower” Tesla used in 1899 for his experiment in Colorado Springs “I think anyone interested in wireless technology has a deep appreciation for Nikola Tesla’s work. His work was instrumental in a lot of the wireless communication technologies we enjoy today,” Kushner said. Kushner noted that the science and technology behind Emrod’s wireless system differs greatly from what Tesla was suggesting. Emrod can maintain a narrow and focused beam with two technologies. The first relates to transmission consisting of small radio elements and single wave patterns to create a parallel beam aligned in parallel. The second It relates to proprietary metamaterials that interact effectively with those radio waves.” Energy levels and efficiency levels had to be achieved that would make them viable in the use cases we were focusing on. For example, the Tesla system transmits energy in a way that is described as omnidirectional, meaning that it emits energy in all directions. The Emrod system uses a unidirectional focused beam, which sends energy directly from one antenna to another. We have also developed passive relays to extend the range of our system and new built-in safety systems (Figure 3),” Kushner said. He added, “The antenna design, metamaterials, and relay technology we use are essential because they allow us to achieve a certain level of performance, i.e. levels of efficiency, reliability and distance.” The safety considerations built into the system are also essential to using the system for commercial purposes.” Figure 3: Emrod’s Architecture Emrod’s goal The technology (wireless microwave energy transmission) has been around for decades. But to make it commercially viable, it was necessary to reduce energy losses. Kushner highlighted how the use of metamaterials developed in recent years has made a difference.Emrod technology aims to offer a new way to deliver electricity to places that often have the largest electrification gap in rural areas, which cannot afford the infrastructure that Supports the electricity grid.Their antennas work as a cable that provides electricity to their customers.These antennas will be placed in all those windy and sunny places where renewable energy can be used.The system works in all weather conditions,the transmission distance is only limited by a line of sight between each antenna.The transmission of energy Wireless over challenging terrain eliminating the need for traditional poles and lines, such as in cellular base stations.Emrod provides point-to-point wireless communication Li point between the power point and the base station using a pair of antennas. Kushner notes that electricity costs are expensive in the Pacific islands and that the use of renewable energy must challenge infrastructure cost issues. With Emrod’s wireless remote power technology, it is possible to reduce dependence on diesel generators, and deliver electricity to remote communities, thus lowering cost. “Currently, the use cases where Emrod is economically viable are where it will be difficult and expensive to build and maintain power line infrastructure, for example across waterways, forests or controversial sites. We are planning our first pilot project, which will be deployed in New Zealand. , for the purpose of transferring power from a new solar farm to serve the needs of commercial customers in the area,” Kushner said. EMROD technology uses a transmitting antenna, a series of repeaters, and a receiver (a rectified antenna capable of converting microwave energy into electricity). Each of these components appears as a square plate mounted on a suitable chassis. The greater the surface area of ​​the plate, the greater the transmission power and the greater the distance it can cover. “With Emrod, the wireless transmission distance in a typical use case is up to 40 km, as long as there is a line of sight between the transmitting and receiving antenna. This can be extended using passive relays. Currently, the semiconductor technology available for amplifiers puts an upper limit on antenna power density of about 10 kilowatts per square metre. Figure 4: Emrod Technology The startup is also studying the possibility of wireless electricity in emergency situations, such as an unexpected power outage. The truck can be equipped with a Retina device and then propelled into the visible range of a repeater to create a temporary wireless power connection. Emrod has worked with New Zealand’s spectrum management authorities throughout the development process and will ensure that the entire technology meets safety standards. Emrod uses energy in the industrial, scientific, and medical (ISM) scale and keeps the energy density low. Emrod’s point-to-point transmission means that power is radiated directly between two points. There is no radiation around the beam, as is the case with transmission of high voltage cables. The low-power safety laser ensures that the transmission beam is turned off immediately before any passing object (such as a bird or helicopter) reaches the main beam, ensuring that it does not come into contact with anything but clean air. .


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