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New Zealand to Transmit Electricity Through the Air


AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND — Popular Mechanics reports that New Zealand’s Powerco power company will build a test grid that will transmit electricity through the air.

This represents a big step in mankind’s efforts to get rid of unsightly and expensive metal cables and their supporting towers that often blight otherwise beautiful landscapes.

Scientists are currently also looking at tunnels to hide cables in, but wireless transmission has the advantage of cutting construction and maintenance costs.

The idea is to keep a microwave beam tight and focused.

Firstly, small radios create microwaves that are aligned in parallel, and will not spread much as they propagate.

Secondly, the grid uses engineered metamaterials with tiny patterns that effectively interact with these microwaves.

A transmitting antenna sends the beam through various relay panels to a “rectenna” that transforms the radiation back into electricity.

Tiny lasers would be used to sense when objects like birds pass through the microwave beam, in which case the beam would shut off instantly until the object has passed through.

SOURCES: Popular Mechanics, Stuff.co.nz

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