I always thought that, we have so many apparatus in the present world wirelessly like wireless phone, wireless head-sets, wireless modem, wireless mike, wireless speakers etc. However why there is no solution or product yet available to transfer energy wirelessly.
Just imagine, how it would be, if you are able to charge your laptop, mobile phone, and modem without wires or at least lit your bulb wirelessly. The batteries in your laptop or mobile phone are some extent useful to make your device as a wireless in terms of power usage, but those are not real replacements. It is chaotic to see many power wires all over the house, it would be remarkable if we can avoid all those wires, and make the world a true wireless.
In a formal word, this technique is called “wireless energy transfer” or simply “wireless power”. This can be defined as “The transmission of electrical energy from a power source to an electrical load without artificial interconnecting conductors”.
But to my surprise, this is not a new topic; it is already done by the famous scientist Nikola Tesla in late 19th century. Nikola Tesla is a father of modern electricity. He is best known for his many revolutionary developments in the field of electromagnetism. His theoretical work formed the basis of modern alternating current (AC) electric power systems, including the polyphase system of electrical distribution and the AC motor.
He lit electric lamps wirelessly at both of the New York locations, providing evidence for the wireless power transmission.However the million dollar question is, when wireless power was proven in late 19th century why still we are not able to use it? Why still we are using wires to transfer the power?
Before answering to this question, we first need to understand what actually Tesla proven during his experiment, which is called as a Tesla effect.
Tesla recognized during his experiments that electrical energy can be projected outward into space and detected by a receiving instrument in the general vicinity of the source without the need for any interconnecting wires. He went on to develop two theories related to these observations, which are:
a) By using two Tesla coil transmitter-receivers positioned at distant points on the Earth’s surface, it is possible to induce a flow of electrical current between them.
b) By incorporating a portion of the Earth as part of a powerful dual-elevated-terminal Tesla coil transmitter an electrical disturbance can be impressed upon the Earth and detected “at great distance, or even all over the surface of the globe.”
Tesla also made the assumption that the Earth is a charged body floating in space.
To prove his theory, he gave a mini scale demonstration. The wireless energy transmission effect involved the creation of an electric field between two metal plates, each being connected to one terminal of an induction coil’s secondary winding. A light-producing device was used as a means of detecting the presence of the transmitted energy. The light producing device is able to lite wirelessly.
This tower was designed to send transatlantic radio signals and provide power to nearby businesses without the use of copper lines; the 55 foot tower loomed ominously. The dream of Nicola Tesla to provide free power with no lines by harnessing the ionosphere would be demonstrated with this project.
The construction of this tower began on the land near Long Island Sound. This project had been funded by industrialists and other venture capitalists. The project was initially backed by the wealthy J. P. Morgan who had invested $150,000 in the facility.
Tesla's theory on how the tower would work was that, "By using two type-one sources positioned at distant points on the Earth’s surface, it is possible to induce a flow of electrical current between them." The inventor also believed that the earth was a charged source. His tower would work by combining these two principals and creating powerful disturbances in Earth's natural electric charge which could then be harnessed. The users of the power would receive it by burying one end of a wire in the ground, and then putting a large conductive sphere on their roof with another wire. One would serve as a negative power source, and the other positive. Tesla called it the "disturbed charge of ground and air method."
In June 1902 Tesla moved his laboratory operations from his Houston Street laboratory to Wardenclyffe. However in 1903, when the tower structure was near completion, it was still not yet functional due to last-minute design changes. After realizing Tesla had no plans to actually make any money from the project, J. P. Morgan stopped investing and encouraged other investors to shy away. By July 1904 Morgan and the other investors finally decided they would not provide any additional financing. In May 1905 Tesla's patents on alternating current motors and other methods of power transmission expired, halting royalty payments and causing a severe reduction of funding to the Wardenclyffe Tower. In an attempt to find alternative funding Tesla advertised the services of the Wardenclyffe facility but he met with little success.
By 1905, since Tesla could not find any more backers, most of the site's activity had to be shut down. In 1908, the property was foreclosed for the first time. Tesla procured a new mortgage from George C. Boldt, proprietor of the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel. The facility was partially abandoned around 1911, and the tower structure deteriorated.
In 1915, legal ownership of the Wardenclyffe property was transferred to George Boldt of the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel for a $20,000 debt. In September 1917 during World War I, the tower was blown up with dynamite on orders of the United States Government which feared German spies were using it. The failure of the project contributed a great deal to Tesla's eventual mental breakdown.
In that way the greatest invention by Tesla was ended without giving any benefits to common people. The success of Wardenclyffe would have changed the world and improved the planet a billion times over. It is not the case that the concept of “Wireless power” is completely abandoned. Few modern scientists are still doing experiments on it and trying to transmit the power wirelessly. Hopefully in future this will be possible and people can charge cell phones, PDAs, and laptops wirelessly. Until then we need to depend on wires. Oh! My laptop is showing low battery, I need to charge it, where is my power cable?