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Thread: Ways to transmit electricity

  1. #1 Ways to transmit electricity 
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    Last edited by Ascended; September 16th, 2012 at 01:17 PM. Reason: removed at my request
    “The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts.”

    Bertrand Russell
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    Not very far or very efficiently.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WiTricity


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    Energy transmission via microwaves has been an essential element to proposals for Space Power Satellite systems and could theoretically be used to distribute power down here on Earth. I believe a prototype helicopter was flown in the 60's on beamed power - whilst the helicopter did take off, the technology didn't. Wires between fixed points remain a simpler, more reliable, more efficient - and cheaper - option. And less contentious.

    Although, as I've asked proponents of SPS (without reply) - if it's cost effective to beam power down from space why not use this technology as the backbone of a global energy grid? It could beam solar and wind power - or any excess from any source - from where and when it's abundant up to space and back down again. A big boost to space enterprise (I suspect this being the primary motivation of most of it's proponents rather than solving the climate/emissions/energy problem) without being so big as to be beyond real consideration. Which full SPS proposals tend to be.
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    wasn't this tesla's dream, of direct lightning transmission between tesla towers? Or even transmitting power trough water, or the ground, air, etc...

    There are plenty substitutes to power lines... Batteries, generators, solar panels, etc.

    In science fiction there is something like a singularity generator, where a bridge is kept between 2 points, indefinitely, and transfers instant energy trough, no wires.

    I doubt strongly that we can keep small black holes, or rifts inside a bubble the size of a keychain...
    Growing up, i marveled at star-trek's science, and ignored the perfect society. Now, i try to ignore their science, and marvel at the society.

    Imagine, being able to create matter out of thin air, and not coming up with using drones for boarding hostile ships. Or using drones to defend your own ship. Heck, using drones to block energy attacks, counterattack or for surveillance. Unless, of course, they are nano-machines in your blood, which is a billion times more complex..
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    Last edited by Ascended; September 16th, 2012 at 01:17 PM. Reason: removed at my request
    “The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts.”

    Bertrand Russell
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    Answering my own question of why not use energy transmission to carry energy from one side of the world to the other - I think the transmission losses may be too high. A one off loss (as with proposed SPS beaming down solar energy from orbit) might be manageable but beaming power up as well as down increases the losses. If the orbital reciever/transmitters are in low orbit it might be necessary to beam up, across and down, increasing the losses again. I can't imagine beaming power to or from the moon could be feasible.
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    There are about 40% transmission losses to an average powerline. Could go up or down, depending on length and quality. And yes, beaming the energy through microwaves has a better efficiency, not sure how much though.

    The idea with orbiting solar panels beaming energy directly to the core of a city seems like futuristic thoughts, but i like the idea. As long as the whole world chips in on their maintenance, and no one could control the power they produce. Otherwise we would be having a great script for a james bond novel/movie. We could call it, "Black friday".
    Growing up, i marveled at star-trek's science, and ignored the perfect society. Now, i try to ignore their science, and marvel at the society.

    Imagine, being able to create matter out of thin air, and not coming up with using drones for boarding hostile ships. Or using drones to defend your own ship. Heck, using drones to block energy attacks, counterattack or for surveillance. Unless, of course, they are nano-machines in your blood, which is a billion times more complex..
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zwolver View Post
    There are about 40% transmission losses to an average powerline. Could go up or down, depending on length and quality. And yes, beaming the energy through microwaves has a better efficiency, not sure how much though.

    The idea with orbiting solar panels beaming energy directly to the core of a city seems like futuristic thoughts, but i like the idea. As long as the whole world chips in on their maintenance, and no one could control the power they produce. Otherwise we would be having a great script for a james bond novel/movie. We could call it, "Black friday".
    Where did you get your figure of 40% transmission loss? Why do you think microwave power transmission is more efficient? As far as I can tell, the most power that has been transmitted by microwave for any distance is 20 watts for 92 miles.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electri...r_transmission
    Transmission and distribution losses in the USA were estimated at 6.6% in 1997[10] and 6.5% in 2007.[10
    Researchers Beam 'Space' Solar Power in Hawaii | Wired Science | Wired.com
    Although the amount of power sent, 20 watts, is barely enough to power a small compact fluorescent light bulb, and most of it was lost in transmission, the system was limited by the budget not the physics. If they had been able to afford more solar panels, more phased array transmitters and a better receivers (the one they had could only receive in the horizontal direction), Mankins claims they could do much better– possibly up to 64% efficiency.
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    Last edited by Ascended; September 16th, 2012 at 01:18 PM. Reason: removed at my request
    “The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts.”

    Bertrand Russell
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    I don't think it works like that, finding a wavelength for electricity.

    To harold, i had no idea it was so few. I was running my own experiments at home, and i extrapolated the data for high voltage and thicker cables, i got about 40% loss, but i think i lost the most power now inside my meter. Hmm.

    Anyway, harold, why don't you come up with an idea? To solve the power issue over distance..
    Growing up, i marveled at star-trek's science, and ignored the perfect society. Now, i try to ignore their science, and marvel at the society.

    Imagine, being able to create matter out of thin air, and not coming up with using drones for boarding hostile ships. Or using drones to defend your own ship. Heck, using drones to block energy attacks, counterattack or for surveillance. Unless, of course, they are nano-machines in your blood, which is a billion times more complex..
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chrisgorlitz View Post
    Well it seems we have managed to find ways to transmit radio, tv, mobile phone signals and microwaves successfully through the air, so surely only a matter of time before finding a suitable wave frequency for electricity?

    I was also wondering if there is a way to convert radiation into electricity?,
    Yes. It's called an antenna.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chrisgorlitz View Post
    Well it seems we have managed to find ways to transmit radio, tv, mobile phone signals and microwaves successfully through the air, so surely only a matter of time before finding a suitable wave frequency for electricity?
    We've had radios since the 19th century, but we are still not very close to having a practical means of wireless power transmission. Radio waves tend to fly off in all directions, with the intensity falling off according to the inverse square law.

    Quote Originally Posted by "zwolver'
    Anyway, harold, why don't you come up with an idea? To solve the power issue over distance..
    Smarter people than I are working on these things. I am only trying to point out the current state of technology. Some of these ideas are more in the realm of flying cars and the Jetsons. Don't expect it to solve global warming for us in the foreseeable future.
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    Last edited by Ascended; September 16th, 2012 at 01:19 PM. Reason: removed at my request
    “The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts.”

    Bertrand Russell
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    Maybe it would be really really dangerous to have a microwave beam transmitting Megawatts of energy from one point to another. Because that sounds like a really really big laser. -Imagine a plane flying thru such beam: it will instantly boil.

    Why would you want to send Gigawatts of energy from space using microwave beam? Doesn't it sound too dangerous? Would this lead to weaponization of space with microwave laser beam?

    It look like a feasible technology. for example: US already have a microwave projector for crowd control (it project a microwave beam to boil a tiny amount of skin on people's body, to make them feel pain). We just need an efficient receiver for the beam to convert it to electricity.
    Last edited by msafwan; August 24th, 2012 at 01:14 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by msafwan View Post
    Maybe it would be really really dangerous to have a microwave beam transmitting Megawatts of energy from one point to another. Because that sounds like a really really big laser. -Imagine a plane flying thru such beam: it will instantly boil.

    Why would you want to send Gigawatts of energy from space using microwave beam? Doesn't it sound too dangerous? Would this lead to weaponization of space with microwave laser beam?

    It look like a feasible technology. for example: US already have a microwave projector for crowd control (it project a microwave beam to boil a tiny amount of skin on people's body, to make them feel pain). We just need an efficient receiver for the beam to convert it to electricity.
    There have already been many studies, and a few experiments, aimed at microwave power transmission. Since insolation is greater outside of the atmosphere, generating solar power in space sounds like a great idea. Since you can't practically have cables conveying that power to the ground, you're pretty much left with some form of wireless link as the only possible option.

    As you say, however, wireless power transmission has practical problems. So far, no one has devised a scenario that credibly replaces our wired industrial-scale infrastructure. It might make sense for lower-power applications over short distances, but even that is somewhat dubious. So, it all remains a whiteboard exercise for now.

    As for the "boil your skin" device, that may be how it's been described in some press accounts, but that's not quite accurate. The idea is not to boil anything, but to heat up enough of your exposed tissue to stimulate your peripheral nerves into thinking that you are boiling. Tissue damage is not the intended mechanism. Using extremely high frequencies (about two orders of magnitude above what microwave ovens use) guarantees tiny penetration depths, and thus minimizes the potential for bad health effects. Still, I wouldn't want to get in the way of the main beam!
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    Last edited by Ascended; September 16th, 2012 at 01:19 PM. Reason: removed at my request
    “The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts.”

    Bertrand Russell
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  18. #17  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chrisgorlitz View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by msafwan View Post
    Because that sounds like a really really big laser
    Just off the top of my head, could electricity actually be directed in a straight line through the air using something like an UV laser?
    Yes, but UV would be a very poor choice. It's scattered too easily (blue light is already scattered quite a bit, which is why the sky is blue). And all optical methods have the problem of requiring an obstructed path.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold14370 View Post
    Smarter people than I are working on these things. I am only trying to point out the current state of technology. Some of these ideas are more in the realm of flying cars and the Jetsons. Don't expect it to solve global warming for us in the foreseeable future.
    Smartness has little to do with ideas. As some of the smartest people i know, can't think outside the box, because of their knowledge. And most get intrigued by some of my proposals. Though most of them get turned down, they usually congratulate me for thinking of a possibility they would have never came up with.

    With time, and feedback, anyone can come up with any idea to solve the worlds greatest problems. The problem is.. No feedback, no time..
    Growing up, i marveled at star-trek's science, and ignored the perfect society. Now, i try to ignore their science, and marvel at the society.

    Imagine, being able to create matter out of thin air, and not coming up with using drones for boarding hostile ships. Or using drones to defend your own ship. Heck, using drones to block energy attacks, counterattack or for surveillance. Unless, of course, they are nano-machines in your blood, which is a billion times more complex..
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  20. #19  
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    For radio and tv the sensitivity of the receivers, which require their own powered amplifiers to turn weak signals into strong ones, make them very different to transmission of energy. The old crystal radio uses the energy of the radio signal, un-amplified, operating wholly on transmitted energy but it's a very small amount of energy.

    With Space Power proposals there is a requirement to greatly increase space launch capabilities. One of the proposed means uses another form of beamed power - lasers on the ground to power the rocket being launched. I believe there is no intention of turning that laser power into electricity, rather that it directly heats propellants the rocket carries, the advantage being able to launch using much less propellant.
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