Reduce Carbon Emissions By Wireless Power TransferEPA Grant Number: SV839353
Title: Reduce Carbon Emissions By Wireless Power Transfer
Investigators: Lee, Hoseon
Institution: Kennesaw State University
EPA Project Officer: Page, Angela
Project Period: March 1, 2018 through February 29, 2020
Project Amount: $69,183
RFA: P3 Awards: A National Student Design Competition for Sustainability Focusing on People, Prosperity and the Planet - Phase 2 (2017)
Research Category: P3 Awards , Sustainability , P3 Challenge Area - Energy
The proposed research is a method of replacing power cables in aircraft with wireless power transfer systems that are much lighter and can reduce the weight of the plane. The current trend of commercial airlines is to eliminate the LCD screens in the back of the passenger seats and to provide WiFi and entertainment directly to portable wireless electronics such as smartphones and tablets due to their increased ubiquity. The number of power lines that lead to each passenger seat, from the head to the tail end of the plane is significant and adds to the overall weight of the plane. The weight of a small transmitter in intermittent locations down the plane, placed above the carryon compartment can significantly reduce this weight. The width of the plane is narrow, and the distance from the transmitter to the receiver is between 1 to 3 meters. Not only is the distance short, but it is also static, which makes it an ideal environment for integrating a wireless power transfer system. The goal is to reduce the amount of fuel needed, due to the reduced weight, and eventually reduce carbon emission per flight. This reduction factor per plane multiplied by the total number of flights in the world, results in a substantial reduction in global carbon emission and a step towards a more sustainable environment.
The goal of this project is the develop the technology to the point where it could be commercialized after the end of this grant. None of these grant funds, however, will be used for commercialization or for-profit initiatives. The main objective of Phase II is to further develop the wireless power transfer receiver prototype developed in Phase I for implementation in the field. This main objective is divided into two sub-objectives. One of the sub-objectives is to increase the efficiency of the prototype developed in Phase I, by putting together a team of research and engineering professionals consisting of undergraduate students at Kennesaw State University, graduate student(s) at Georgia Tech, and research personnel at GTRI (Georgia Tech Research Institute) to collaborate on this project.
The strategy to successfully accomplish the goal of this proposal is to form a strong, diverse team of professionals in the industry and research institutions to help increase the efficiency and overall performance of the prototype. Support letters from GTRI (Georgia Tech Research Institute), faculty and a research group at Georgia Tech, who specializes in far field wireless power transfer has committed to support our students and the Phase II proposal. The Dean of the College of Engineering at Kennesaw State University recognizes the educational and research value of this research and has committed support as well. Lastly, Microwave Vision Group, Inc. (MVG Inc.) which specializes in antenna measurement solutions, has agreed to support our students research activities for this EPA Phase II proposal. Layout experts in the industry are planned to be consulted to create more professional prototypes for implementation purposes.
In phase I, after having received the funding in February of 2017, the undergraduate researchers focused on two different designs; a passive circuit and an active circuit. The passive circuit, based on a charge pump design, was simulated in ADS high frequency circuit simulation software and laid out using EagleCAD. The students went through different iterations to increase the efficiency of the receiver circuit, making the footprint of the layout smaller to reduce weight as wells as transmission loss in the conductive traces in the circuit board. The students also used a buck boost converter circuit, to use feedback to increase the power transmission efficiency. Both designs resulted in a boost of the output voltage compared to the input voltage and can provide power at the load. The advantage of the passive charge pump design is that any antenna can be connected to the circuit, and the RF Schottky diodes in the charge pump will convert the RF signals to DC signals. The disadvantage of the buck boost converter circuit is that a rectenna (antenna plus rectifier) is necessary at the input, because the buck boost converter uses a DC input signal and boosts it to a higher level. The next step that the students plan to take in Phase II is to combine the charge pump with the buck boost converter circuit so that a high gain, directional antenna can be attached to the input side, rectified by the charge pump, and boosted by the buck boost converter.
The conclusion is that both the charge pump and the buck boost converter circuit operate as simulated, and is able to receive wireless RF signals and boost the output voltage at the load. There are advantages and disadvantages to both circuit designs, and the next proposed step is to try a combined circuit design to evaluate its efficiency compared to the charge pump and buck boost converter separately.
Supplemental Keywords:wireless energy harvesting, wireless energy scavenging, far field wireless power transfer, charge pump, buck boost converter
Dr. Gregory Durgin at Georgia Tech
Dr. Gregory Durgin’s Lab
Dr. Chris Valenta at GTRI
Microwave Vision Group (U.S. branch located in Kennesaw, Georgia)