Frost & Sullivan Research Service   Published: 30 Sep 2008
Wireless Power Supplies and Contactless Energy Transfer (Technical Insights)
   Research Overview

This Frost & Sullivan research service titled Wireless Power Supplies and Contactless Energy Transfer provides insights into technologies such as electromagnetic induction, microwave, lasers, and resonance that can aid energy transmission wirelessly to power devices used in home, offices, and industries. In this research, Frost & Sullivan's expert analysts thoroughly examine the following application sectors: consumer electronics, induction cooking, healthcare, process control, and automotive.

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Technology Overview

Proliferation of Electronic Devices Makes a Case for Wireless Power Transfer for Both Consumer and Industrial Applications

With a slew of personal and portable electronic devices flooding the market, consumers have begun to feel the need for a convenient means to power them, without the mess of several chargers and wires. Industries too echo this sentiment, as wires represent a burden in terms of cost and maintenance. In such a scenario, wireless power is emerging as a popular concept and scientists are considering several technologies for such applications. This technology has tremendous potential in various industries including consumer electronics, automotive, and process control industries. The power and energy industry is investing substantially in research on large-scale wireless energy transfer. The technology will also facilitate the use of all electrical devices, which is a sought-after purchase factor when choosing cell phones or laptops. "Moreover, natural deposits such as coal and petroleum are rapidly depleting, and one day, alternative energy sources will be needed," say the analysts of this research. "If Earth-based natural energy sources will not satisfy the world's energy needs, space solar power systems could become the only alternative."

As the home automation trend is catching on, several companies have developed wireless power technologies such as charging pads for use in homes and offices to power personal electronic devices. Meanwhile, universities are researching ways to improve efficiency over longer ranges because while wireless power transfer is highly efficient at short distances, there tends to be substantial power losses when the transfer distance increases. All the more so, as even chargers having wires are not considered completely reliable since they heat up while charging, dissipating energy through heat. In the case of power-hungry devices such as industry machines or even laptops, the transfer should be efficient enough to enable rapid recharging and should not interfere with the continuous working of the device during the recharge. To quell such consumer apprehensions and increase customer acceptance of the technology, scientists are studying techniques such as resonant induction, microwaves, and lasers although these methods limit the amount of power that can be transmitted. "The other problem here is that currently such devices are often large and so, there have to be trade-offs among the size of the devices, the proximity between the transmitter and receiver, and the amount of power to be used to recharge the device," note the analysts. "There is a need for complementary electronics capable of working at higher frequencies to improve the efficiency of the wireless power transfer".

Even if all these performance requirements are met, potential users will still be wary about the safety of wireless energy transfer. "This challenge is especially pertinent for personal and household devices, where the users are concerned about the impact of electromagnetic field, microwaves, or even radio waves on their health," observe the analysts. "In order to accelerate the adoption of this disruptive technology in a conservative end-user market, it must be ensured that energy transfer technologies operate within regulation norms." Technology developers can provide an important breakthrough in terms of widespread use in the consumer electronics segment through collaborations and agreements with original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) in incorporating a unified charging scheme across a range of products. In order to assuage the fears of end users and expand the user base in the future, industry participants could also consider energy transfer with space solar power systems and lobby for international cooperation between governments.

Application Sectors

Expert Frost & Sullivan analysts thoroughly examine the following application sectors in this research:

  • Consumer electronics
  • Automotive
  • Industrial automation and process control
  • Healthcare
  • Induction cooking


The following technologies are covered in this research:

  • Electromagnetic induction
  • Microwaves
  • Lasers
  • Radio frequency transmission
  • Space solar power systems

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  Table Of Contents
   Scope and Methodology
      1. Research Scope and Segmentation
      2. Research Methodology

  Introduction and Key Findings
      1. Introduction
      2. Noteworthy Developments
      3. Key Findings

   Overview of Technologies
      1. Near Field Energy Transfer
      2. Far Field Energy Transfer

  Overview of Applications
      1. Automation and Process Control
      2. Consumer Electronics
      3. Healthcare
      4. Automotive and Aerospace

   Adoption Drivers and Challenges
      1. Market Drivers
      2. Industry Challenges
      3. Impact Analysis--Snapshot of Risks and Rewards

  Effect of Political; Economic; Social; Technological; Legal; and Environmental (PESTLE) Factors
      1. Electromagnetic Induction
      2. Electromagnetic Resonant Induction
      3. Laser and Microwave-Based Energy Transfer
      4. Radio Frequency-Based Energy Transfer

   Developments in Companies
      1. Contactless Energy Transfer for Industrial Applications
      2. Wireless Power Up for Grabs
      3. Inductive Power Transfer for Material Handling Systems
      4. Infrared Laser Beam Power to Devices
      5. Localized Activation of Transmitter Coils on Wireless Charging Pad
      6. New Generation of Inductive Cooktops
      7. WISA System for Wireless Power and Data Transfer to Sensors and Actuators
      8. Wireless Power for Consumer Electronics
      9. eCoupled Technology for Wireless Charging

  Research in Universities and Research Labs
      1. WiTricity Technology Based on Electromagnetic Resonant Induction
      2. Contactless Energy Transfer to Moving Actuators and Personal Devices
      3. Powering LEDs in Propeller Clock
      4. Wireless Cell Phone Charging Technology

   Impact Assessment in Application Sectors
      1. Technology Need Analysis
      2. Stakeholder Assessment (Near Field Technologies)
      3. Stakeholder Assessment (SPS and Far Field)

  Industry Trends
      1. Roadmap of Applications
      2. Future Trends and Analyst Insights

   Snapshot of Key Patents in Wireless Power Transfer
      1. Key Patents--United States
      2. Recent Patent Applications--United States
      3. Key Patents--Europe
      4. Recent Patent Applications--Europe

  Database of Key Participants
      1. University Contacts
      2. Corporate Contacts

   Decision Support Database Tables
      1. Passenger Car Production--World (2004 to 2014)
      2. Total Enterprises--World (2002 to 2012)
      3. Machine Tools Production--World (2003 to 2013)
      4. Military Expenditure--World (2002 to 2012)
      5. Nominal GDP--World (2002 to 2012)
      6. Mobile Subscribers--World (2002 to 2012)

  Further Information

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