The Importance of Wireless Power Transfer Today

By now, you’re probably pretty familiar with the concept of wireless power transfer.

If you aren’t, you might want to check out our selection of wireless power articles. We’ve written quite a few.

But maybe, after all this hype, you’re wondering why wireless power is gaining traction now — when the concept has been around for decades now. Here’s the lowdown!

Why Wireless Energy Transmission Is Gaining Importance Now

Why is wireless energy transmission gaining importance now, even though the technical principle is more than 120 years old?

The behavior of smartphone and tablet users has changed dramatically over the past two years. People are constantly sending emails, texting, posting on social networks, and playing online games. The average user can barely last a day on a single battery charge, because large displays, fast processors, and HD graphics consume lots of power.

Public wireless charging stations offer a convenient solution to this problem. For example, a user can charge a smartphone by simply placing it on a restaurant table outfitted with a wireless charger.

To make the user’s experience successful, the charger must be easy to use, fast, and efficient. More importantly, its performance must be comparable to conventional wired chargers. Once the technology — driven by consumer product design and demand — is well established, many different new applications will appear in other areas.

For example, in the medical field, charger contacts (such as plugs or prongs) corrode easily with liquid disinfectants. However, with integrated wireless charging technology, medical instruments can be completely encapsulated, preventing contamination and corrosion.

Moreover, in industrial settings with high concentrations of dirt, dust, or flammable materials, wireless power supplies can eliminate many of the risks and quality control issues associated with charger contacts.

Two Dominant Standards for Wireless Charging

The success of these solutions depends, of course, on devices which adhere to standard compatible protocols on both the transmitter and receiver sides.

So regardless of manufacturer, once it is certain devices can be charged at any compatible station, the technology will become popular. That’s why it is critical to understand which standard protocols are present in the market, and the technology behind them.

Luckily, we’ve written an entire article about the various wireless power standards, comparing the two main standards:

  • The Wireless Power Consortium (Qi)
  • The AirFuel Alliance

Read this post to learn the main differences between these compliance standards and to see how the AirFuel Alliance stacks up to Qi.

The Future of Wireless Power Standards

So, we know how wireless power is slowly rising to, well, power. But where is this powerful technology headed?

IDT, Infineon Technologies, Linear Technologies, RoHM, Semtech and STMicroelectronics are the main semiconductor manufacturers to offer chipset solutions.

Presently, the standards are driven by the consumer market and are limited to solutions up to 20W. Only Qi has proposed solutions up to 2.4kW for applications such as wireless kitchen appliances. Once the proposed classes for 200W, 800W, and 2.4kW are defined, these solutions can be used for not only kitchen appliances, but also a wide range of applications in the industrial, medical, and consumer markets.

Moreover, there is a multitude of customized solutions on the market with specific power ratings. The main application areas are power supplies for industrial equipment and large battery charging. These are mostly inductive solutions with small- and medium-production volumes, which are not compatible among them and require their own unique approvals and certifications.

Stay tuned to our blog to learn more about the future of wireless power, or view our wireless power solutions from Wurth Electronics!

More Wireless Power Charging Resources

Want to learn more about wireless power? You’re in the right place!

Check out our many other wireless charging resources, including: