Wireless power transmission for consumer electronics and electric vehicles

September 18, 2011 // By Dr Peter Harrop
Over the next decade, the most vibrant Wireless Power Transmission (WPT) markets will be the contactless charging of portable and mobile equipment, in particular consumer electronics and electric vehicles. This is the focus of a new IDTechEx report, "Wireless Power Transmission for Consumer Electronics and Electric Vehicles 2012-2022. The research carried out for this report describes technologies that will be a stepping stone to contactless power for a high proportion of static consumer, industrial and military electronics and electrics.

For now, it primarily concerns wireless charging of batteries in portable consumer electronics and in electric vehicles. Both travel considerable distances and ready availability of standard, convenient, contactless, charging capability are key to their further growth in adoption. For example, the user will enjoy ever greater functionality and longer hours of use of mobile phones despite the on-going shortcomings of their batteries.

Our research concerns transfer of watts up to high power of the order of kilowatts at ranges of about one millimeter to about 60 centimeters. The WPT of concern usually involves static transmitters and a larger number of receivers incorporated in what is usually portable or mobile equipment. The transmitters are usually hard wired to AC mains or energy harvesters such as photovoltaics, there being a trend towards multiple energy harvesting. It will only become a mass market if more comprehensive standards are widely adopted and the manufacturers of the portable and mobile equipment incorporate the receivers during manufacture. We forecast the demand by power level and consider other criteria such as technology, range and region of adoption.

The extreme inconvenience of the proliferation of electrically charged products each with an incompatible charging power supply, must be overcome. Three to four billion units are made every year — a potential market for wireless charging pairs of up to ten billion dollars yearly, given market growth and an allied market of wireless power to electronic and electric consumer products that do not need charging. Indeed, the massive disposal of non-standard external power supplies for consumer electronics is an environmental outrage of concern to governments. Only 15 to 20% by weight of electronic products including laptops, cell phones and their power supplies are recycled. A typical user of electronic devices now carries at least three different chargers and at least an equal number of cables for energy charging and data transfer functions. However, we all know about the cordless electric

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