Wireless electricity could transform shipping

Wireless electricity could transform shipping

by Marly Hazen McQuillen
15. June 2011 10:54

How does wireless electricity work?

In much the way an opera singer's voice can shatter a glass from across the room, electricity can be transmitted wirelessly, as a research team at MIT has proven. WiTricity entrepreneur Eric Giler explains how power generated at specific frequencies can light up our electrical devices:

In a news release from MIT, Prof. Peter Fisher from the aforementioned research team cited an important distinction of the wireless system: "As long as the laptop is in a room equipped with a source of such wireless power, it would charge automatically, without having to be plugged in. In fact, it would not even need a battery to operate inside of such a room." Automatic charging is impressive enough, but powering electronics without batteries? Consider the possibilities.

Could shippers and manufacturers benefit from wireless electricity?

a truck was sticking out of the building

Giler hopes that MIT's electrical breakthrough could bring an end to "suck[y]" batteries. With energy-conscious fleets tethered to the (currently) limited number of charging stations, perhaps a pragmatic alternative to hybrids and plug-in electric vehicles (EVs) should be on the road ahead. Could portable power sources keep trucking equipment charged over long hauls? Could warehouses provide transmitters to recharge tractor-trailers as their shipments are unloaded?

At least one company, Delphi Automotive, has designed an cordless electric vehicle charger. It's not a stretch to imagine wireless electricity becoming a viable or even preferable option to power commercial vehicles.

Wireless electricity is an open field (no kite strings necessary). WiTricity takes a first step by designing embeddable technology for other products. How this wireless technology will be used in the future remains open to innovative manufacturers.

Image by bradleygee on Flickr

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