New Zealand startup Emrod has started trials of a new wireless electricity system which they say could do away with the need for cables, pylons and all that stuff when delivering electrical power in rural areas. What makes this new project different is the fact that it has attracted the attention – and funding – from one of New Zealand’s biggest power companies. Trials with Powerco will begin in October, although the early prototype will initially only be able to deliver a few kilowatts of power.
While this type of technology is not new, the difference with this new wireless electricity transmission system from Emrod is the fact they’re using electromagnetic materials commonly used in military stealth technology. The relay units, which look like flat black squares, need line of sight to work, but the energy loss is minimal. The major loss comes from the transmitter end. So apparently the whole system runs at around 70% efficiency. But the applications where this makes sense (over water, jungle or other difficult to traverse terrain) may not care about that kind of downside.
Of course one of the big questions will be how does this affect the environment? Not just human health (see the current 5G controversy) but also birds, bees and other essential parts of the biosphere. We suspect there will be a huge amount of debate, research and trials between now and mass deployment.
“But to give you an example, a one-square-meter (10.7-sq-ft) transmitter could send about 10 kW for about 10 meters (33 ft), but a 40-square-meter (430.5-sq-ft) transmitter could give you about a 30-km (18.6-mi) range, which is much more than we’d need for the vast majority of applications.”