Editorial Feature

Wireless Charging: Making the World Greener

Wireless charging is an advancing technology which eliminates the hassles involved in the use of a power cord. Currently, a wireless charging device is a major goal for manufacturers as they believe that the power cord is a major drawback of a mobile device. Wireless charging technology makes use of electromagnetic fields where the energy is transferred to an electrical device through inductive coupling. The transferred energy is used by the electrical device to charge the batteries.

The eco-friendly, rechargeable batteries used in wireless charging technology are more efficient than the disposable batteries and eliminate the need for periodic replacements. In addition, wireless electricity makes electric car charging much easier and simpler. Companies like Plugless Power and Witricity are currently developing wireless hubs for charging electric cars. Wireless hubs enable charging electric cars by simply parking the cars with a magnetic resonant disk on an undercarriage over another disk on the ground.

Google’s Nexus 4 phone supports wireless charging using a Qi charging standard developed by a Wireless Power Consortium for transferring power over distances of up to 40 mm. The phone is charged using a charging orb that is shaped like a sphere cut along its cross section. The phone is placed at an angle over the dock so that the magnets inside the phone and the dock perform energy transfer to charge the battery.

Recently, Google along with Starbucks and AT&T has stepped forward to support Power Matters Alliance (PMA) in creating wireless power standards for devices and phones based on the guidelines of the IEEE association.

What it would do?

In wireless charging technology, an induction coil present in the induction chargers creates an electromagnetic field within a charging base station. Another induction coil in the portable device acquires the energy generated due to the electromagnetic field and converts it into electric current for charging the battery. These coils are regulated to have the same resonant frequency in order to avoid energy leakage and reduce the risk of electrical shock.

Wireless charging reduces the natural resources and power consumption required for manufacturing and packaging conventional chargers. It also reduces the amount of non-biodegradable and toxic wastes generated from conventional chargers.

Several electric vehicles are now employed with wireless charging technology. Wireless electric vehicle charging technology ensures that the drivers charge their vehicle very little and regularly. This technology offers dynamic charging to support local stationary charging and thus eliminates the concern about the driving range. In addition, the weight and cost of the electric vehicle can be reduced owing to the small size of batteries.

Summary

The adoption of wireless charging has brought about significant developments in the past few years. With its wireless-charging-enabled Nexus 4 phone, Google has made an aggressive effort to enter the smart phone market.

Starbucks has planned to test 17 Duracell Powermat charging stations in Boston-area stores as a part of its support for the PMA in creating standards for wireless charging. Moreover, several manufacturers are in the process of employing wireless charging technology for designing electric cars as plug-in charging is too complex and could cause the batteries to top up while driving.

Delta’s electric sports car adopts Qualcomm’s kit developed based on wireless electric vehicle charging technology. The car employs a vehicle mounted pad connected to a Qualcomm controlled unit that is in turn connected to the battery. A touch screen interface is designed to alert the driver to start the process when the car is aligned with a pad on the ground and to update the charging status.

Although the wireless charging technology is already offered for mobile phones and other devices, the idea of using this technology for moving vehicles will take years to come in vogue.

Sources

Kris Walker

Written by

Kris Walker

Kris has a BA(hons) in Media & Performance from the University of Salford. Aside from overseeing the editorial and video teams, Kris can be found in far flung corners of the world capturing the story behind the science on behalf of our clients. Outside of work, Kris is finally seeing a return on 25 years of hurt supporting Manchester City.

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