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Microwave power transmission




Microwave power transmission (MPT) is the use of microwaves to transmit power through outer space or the atmosphere without the need for wires. It is a sub-type of the more general wireless energy transfer methods, and is the most interesting because microwave devices offer the highest efficiency of conversion between DC-electricity and microwave radiative power.

Following World War II, which saw the development of high-power microwave emitters known as cavity magnetrons, the idea of using microwaves to transmit power was researched. In 1964, William C. Brown demonstrated a miniature helicopter equipped with a combination antenna and rectifier device called a rectenna. The rectenna converted microwave power into electricity, allowing the helicopter to fly[1]. In principle, the rectenna is capable of very high conversion efficiencies - over 90% in optimal circumstances.

Most proposed MPT systems now usually include a phased array microwave transmitter. While these have lower efficiency levels they have the advantage of being electrically steered using no moving parts, and are easier to scale to the necessary levels that a practical MPT system requires.

Using microwave power transmission to deliver electricity to communities without having to build cable-based infrastructure is being studied at Grand Bassin on Reunion Island in the Indian Ocean.

Additional recommended knowledge

Contents

Common safety concerns

The common reaction to microwave transmission is one of concern, as microwaves are generally perceived by the public as dangerous forms of radiation - stemming from the fact that they are used in microwave ovens. While high power microwaves can be painful and dangerous as in the United States Military's Active Denial System, MPT systems are generally proposed to have only low intensity at the rectenna.

Though this would be extremely safe as the power levels would be about equal to the leakage from a microwave oven, and only slightly more than a cell phone, the relatively diffuse microwave beam necessitates a large rectenna area for a significant amount of energy to be transmitted.

Research has involved exposing multiple generations of animals to microwave radiation of this or higher intensity, and no health issues have been found. [2]

Proposed uses

Main article: Solar power satellite
  • MPT is the most commonly proposed method for transferring energy to the surface of the Earth from solar power satellites or other in-orbit power sources.
  • MPT is occasionally proposed for the power supply in beam-powered propulsion for orbital lift space ships. Although lasers are more commonly proposed, their low efficiency in light generation and reception has led some designers to opt for microwave based systems.

Current status

Wireless Power Transmission (using microwaves) is well proven. Experiments in the tens of kilowatts have been performed at Goldstone in California in 1975[3][4][5] and more recently (1997) at Grand Bassin on Reunion Island[6]

References

  1. ^ EXPERIMENTAL AIRBORNE MICROWAVE SUPPORTED PLATFORM Descriptive Note : Final rept. Jun 64-Apr 65
  2. ^ Environmental Effects - the SPS Microwave Beam
  3. ^ NASA Video, date/author unknown
  4. ^ Wireless Power Transmission for Solar Power Satellite (SPS) (Second Draft by N. Shinohara), Space Solar Power Workshop, Georgia Institute of Technology
  5. ^ Brown., W. C. (September 1984). "The History of Power Transmission by Radio Waves". Microwave Theory and Techniques, IEEE Transactions on (Volume: 32, Issue: 9 On page(s): 1230- 1242 + ISSN: 0018-9480).
  6. ^ POINT-TO-POINT WIRELESS POWER TRANSPORTATION IN REUNION ISLAND 48th International Astronautical Congress, Turin, Italy, 6-10 October 1997 - IAF-97-R.4.08 J. D. Lan Sun Luk, A. Celeste, P. Romanacce, L. Chane Kuang Sang, J. C. Gatina - University of La Réunion - Faculty of Science and Technology.

See also

energy Portal
 
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Microwave_power_transmission". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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