A World Without Wires

Ally Winning, European Editor, PSD



I recently decided to rearrange my living space to give me more room, but I almost put the idea on hold when I looked at the nest of wires behind my TV. I knew the job had just got a lot more time consuming and complex. Then I wondered how I’d disguise the long, ugly extension cable as it ran across the side of the room, that’s if it could reach at all. That was when I realised that if it wasn’t for WiFi, I’d probably have twice the number of cables to worry about as the STB, TV, Switch, Xbox and soundbar would all need Ethernet connectivity to allow me to access their full functionality. I thought of my wireless phone charger (which coincidently still requires the same USB-C wire that I used to charge my phone before I bought the wireless hub) and how much easier the operation would be if we had true wireless power for all my household devices.

Turns out, that scenario may closer than I thought thanks to a New Zealand start-up. EMROD has developed long-range, high-power, wireless transmission technology that can replace copper line technology. The technology uses electromagnetic waves to efficiently transmit energy wirelessly over long distances. For safety reasons, Emrod chose a non-ionizing Industrial, Scientific and Medical frequency (ISM) frequency for the wireless transmission. The company has a prototype that was developed in collaboration with Callaghan Innovation and partially funded by the New Zealand government. That prototype has led to Powerco, New Zealand’s second largest electricity distribution company, investing in a proof of concept to test the new technology. Powerco will spend up to three months lab testing before starting a field trial.

The founder of Emrod, Greg Kushnir, sees the technology as a way to reduce costs and support renewable energy.

 “There are costly challenges that come with delivering clean energy using traditional methods, for example, offshore wind farms or the Cook Strait here in New Zealand requiring underwater cables which are expensive to install and maintain,” said Kushnir. “I wanted to come up with a solution to move all that clean energy around from where it’s abundant to where it’s needed in a cost-effective, eco-friendly way.

“The system we are currently building for Powerco will transmit only a few kilowatts but we can use the exact same technology to transmit 100 times more power over much longer distances. Wireless systems using Emrod technology can transmit any amount of power current wired solutions transmit,” said Kushnir.

Ray Simpkin, Emrod’s chief scientific officer said that the company was looking at wirelessly transmitting power over the 30 kilometers of water from the New Zealand mainland to Stewart Island. The process could cost as little as 60 percent of the price of an undersea cable.

So Mr Kushnir, if your technology can transmit kilowatts over 30 kilometres, maybe for your next project you could look at transferring around 500 watts over four metres to make my life easier?