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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/X020606/1
Title: Safe Power Delivery Using a Reconfigurable Mesh of Inductive Transceivers
Principal Investigator: Mitcheson, Professor PD
Other Investigators:
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Dr J Arteaga Saenz
Project Partners:
Bumblebee Power Ltd Government Office for Science SanRex (Sanasha Electric MFG)
Department: Electrical and Electronic Engineering
Organisation: Imperial College London
Scheme: Standard Research
Starts: 01 May 2023 Ends: 30 April 2026 Value (£): 717,688
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Power Electronics
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Energy
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
07 Dec 2022 Engineering Prioritisation Panel Meeting 7 and 8 December 2022 Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
Existing wireless power transfer (WPT) systems remove the inconvenience of charging portable devices, such as mobile phones, through cables, and can also help solve the problem of getting power into "hard to reach places", such as powering or recharging medical implants. However, the vast majority of existing WPT solutions are limited by being unidirectional, point-to-point systems, i.e. there is one dedicated power source, and one dedicated receiver that collects the transmitted energy. In this work, we will develop a new generation of wireless power transfer technology where we will create networks of active wireless power transceivers, allowing power to be routed, safety, around the network, over long distances and with high efficiency. The technologies that will be created in this work will enable wireless power systems to be deployed in vastly more application scenarios due to the significant increase in capability that will be created. For example:

1. The move from systems with active transmitters and passive receivers to an active-active, transceiver-transceiver approach will concurrently enable power to be moved in either direction across the magnetic link ("bidirectional wireless power transfer", as well as enabling operation of the system with lower coupling factors (due to the tuning flexibility that the active-active approach creates). Operation with lower coupling factors inherently means greater transmission distance between the power source and the receiver.

2. The creation of a network of wireless power transceivers (rather than point-to-point links), where any number of transmitters can freely join and leave the network, opens up many other new applications that would otherwise not be practical, or in some cases be possible. It will allow devices to participate, in an ad-hoc way in receiving and transmitting power into the network (as portable devices are moved around), and helping relay power from a source to a node over a number of hops, increasing the range of wireless power delivery. It will enable the efficient charging of many devices concurrently from a single transmission source, in applications such as powering a number of devices on a desk, charging many power-tools in a toolbox or case, military equipment in a soldier's backpack etc.

A secondary output from this work, although one that is absolutely critical to successful deployments of wireless power in almost all application contexts, is safe operation in the prescience of people, and conducting objects (which have the potential to heat up in a similar way to induction-hob cooking). Whilst the high frequency wireless power solutions that we employ are naturally less prone to heating foreign objects, there are always scenarios where a traditional wireless power system will need to either shut off, or operate at reduced power due from a safety perspective. The use of a network of transceivers adds the possibility to route power away from and around foreign objects without having to degrade the power delivery to maintain safety, as is often required in simple point-to-point systems.

Key Findings
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Potential use in non-academic contexts
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Organisation Website: http://www.imperial.ac.uk