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What is the new technology in wireless charging?

Photo: Belkin
What is the new technology in wireless charging? Without the use of a human or robotic arm, researchers have created an induction technique that makes it possible to charge batteries. The innovation is also so finished that industry will soon be able to see it.   a novel silicon carbide-based semiconductor. Additionally, a freshly created copper wire that is as thin as a human hair. These are a few of the elements that suddenly made high power transmission over the air more plausible.   Induction charging is the newest innovation, but electric toothbrushes have already been doing it for years. Smartphones and other portable gadgets have adopted the technology in recent years. The wireless alternative, however, has thus far seemed too difficult and ineffectual given the enormous power needed to recharge the batteries in an electric car.   Even with battery-powered cars, induction charging currently seems to be making strides, especially in situations where frequent recharging is necessary and the climate is harsh. Consider an electric city boat as an example.   Without using a human or robotic arm, charge This would imply that electric ferries used for routine city transportation across waterways, such as those in Gothenburg and Stockholm, do not require a human or robotic arm to assist with battery charging. The same holds true for autonomous electric automobiles used in industrial, mining, and agriculture as well as city buses.   The conversion of renewable energy sources and the enlightenment of the public transportation system are two areas where Yujing Liu, Professor of Electric Power at Chalmers' Department of Electrical Engineering, is especially interested.   "A mechanism that charges the ferry at select stops while people board and disembark may be included into the wharf. Charges may be applied 30 to 40 times each day, automatically and without regard to the elements (including wind)." According to Yujing Liu, this is arguably the most apparent use.   "There may be a possible use even for electric-powered vehicles in the future. The reason for this is instead that a charging cable would need to be so thick and hefty to accommodate things at such high power levels."


Thanks to the advancement of materials, new opportunities Yujing Liu claims that the recent fast development of a select few components and materials has created a number of new opportunities.   "One important element is that we now have access to high power silicon carbide-based semiconductors, sometimes known as SiC components. These are relatively new devices in the field of power electronics. In comparison to conventional, silicon-based components, they enable us to employ larger voltages, higher temperatures, and much higher switching frequencies, the author claims.   This is significant because the maximum amount of power that can be transmitted between two coils of a given size depends on the frequency of the magnetic field.   A fourfold increase in frequency Previous wireless charging systems for cars have operated at frequencies of around 20 kHz, which are similar to those of a standard stove top. The energy transmission was ineffective, and they became bulky. We now operate with four times higher frequencies. Then induction becomes unexpectedly appealing," says Yujing Liu. He continues by saying that his research team maintains regular communication with the two US- and Germany-based businesses that are the world's top producers of SiC modules.   They enable quick product development for increasingly larger currents, voltages, and outcomes. New variants that are more resistant are released every two to three years. These parts serve as crucial "enablers" for a variety of devices, including electric automobiles, and are not only used for inductive charging.   The copper wires in the coils that emit and receive, respectively, the oscillating magnetic field that serves as the real bridge for the energy transfer across the air gap are another recent technical advance. The objective in this case is to employ as much frequency as you can.   According to Yujing Liu, using coils looped with regular copper wire would not work because of the huge frequency losses that would result.   The coils are now formed of braided "copper ropes," each just 70–100 micrometres thick, made of up to 10,000 copper fibres. very similar to a hair strand.   These so-called litz wire braids, designed for high current and frequencies, have just recently been commercially accessible.   A novel class of capacitors that are utilised to contribute the reactive power necessary for the coil to be able to generate a strong enough magnetic field is the third example cited by Yujing Liu.   Yujing Liu emphasises that switching between direct current and alternating current as well as between various voltage levels are two of the conversions that are involved in charging electric cars.   Therefore, he argues, "If you do not carefully define what is measured, then when we say that we have achieved an efficiency of 98 percent from direct current in the charging station to the battery, that figure may not mean much."   You may also state it this way: Losses happen whether you employ induction or regular, conductive charging. Because of the efficiency we have recently attained, inductive charging losses may be practically as low as with conductive charging systems. The difference, which is just one or two percent, is so little that it is almost irrelevant.


Numbers are interesting. He continues by saying that the findings that his research team released have received a lot of attention.   "In terms of efficiency in this power class, between 150 and 500 kW, we are probably among the best in the world."   Induction charging won't finally take the position of charging using a cable, according to Yujing.   "I myself own an electric vehicle, therefore I don't anticipate ever needing induction charging. It's not an issue when I drive home and plug in.   Is wireless charging a more environmentally friendly technology than traditional charging?   - It is probably not a good idea to assert that a technology is more sustainable in and of itself. However, it may facilitate the electrification of big vehicles and hasten the phase-out of, say, diesel-powered ferries.   Information about induction charging By employing induction to transmit current, no conductor or contact is required to move it across a short distance, such as through water, air, or other non-metallic materials. The induction cookers that are used in many kitchens operate on the same principle. An oscillating magnetic field is created when a coil is subjected to a high frequency alternating current. Inductive charging, however, differs from cooking, where heat development is the key, in that a second coil on board the vehicle collects the energy in the magnetic field and turns it into alternating current once again. After rectification, this alternating current may then be used to replenish the batteries.   A portion of the energy that has to be transferred is wasted due to the heat produced throughout the operation. Therefore, minimising heating as much as feasible is a key objective for technological advancement.   By doing away with energy storage components like heavy batteries, the use of wireless charging will allow developers to create smaller and lighter products. Wireless charging is now a practical or, better yet, a necessary technology due to the increase in processing power of our mobile gadgets.   Wireless charging is now commonplace in a broad range of products, including smartphones and smartwatches. Nikola Tesla first showed the technique more than a century ago, but it did not find use in real life for a very long time. In extremely power-intensive applications like charging electric vehicles (EVs), a significant amount of development and research is being done to enhance the capabilities and potentially bring wireless charging. Resonant charging, inductive charging, and RF charging are the three methods of wireless charging.   At the moment, wireless charging is a highly popular issue, and from 2022 to 2027, it is predicted that the industry would develop at a CAGR of 26%. The development of technology and the rise in the number of new releases both show the growth. The following developments in wireless charging modules:   The use of Qi 1.3  
  • Including the antenna board
  • more processing power
  • enhanced security features
  • higher rate of electricity transmission
  • additional interfaces
  • smaller components for more intelligent wearables
  The most recent version from WPC, known as Qi 1.3, was released in the middle of 2021. This is the biggest change since Qi 1.2's 2015 release. This standard specifies hardware-based authentication for greater security and enhances control of the power transmission between the receiver and the transmitter. Higher data transmission rates, up to 15W, are supported by Qi 1.3. Qi 1.3 standard is included in modules like the P9261 and STWLC98 from Renesas and STM.   Including the antenna board Both power and data may be sent using the small receiver and transmitter modules that use resonant charging and operate at a frequency of 13.56MHz. These compact modules include an integrated antenna, which reduces the overall dimensions of the product as well as the time and expense of creation. These boards operate in the same frequency range as the NFC protocol. The majority of these modules allow the transmission of NFC Forum Type 3 Tags as well as bi-directional data connection (256B Max. at 212 kbps). Advanced operations including firmware download, secure data transmission, and reprogramming of sensor, device, or identification information to battery output voltage levels are all made possible by the bidirectional data transfer. Antenna boards are included in modules from Lapis Technologies including the ROHM BP3621, ROHM BP3622, and ML7660.   More processing power In order to increase the system's reliability, effectiveness, and security, the technology for wireless charging has been incorporating new capabilities, necessitating the use of more powerful CPUs. The microprocessor also makes certification tweaking and standard changes possible without changing PCBAs simpler. A strong processor makes it easier to extend functionalities and improves the ability to more thoroughly customise the user interface (UI). The performance of the electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) software and the microprocessor are interdependent.   The P9261-3C-CRBv2 design from Renesas uses a Renesas RH850 automotive processor as a host controller, allowing the system to provide functional safety features that adhere to ASIL B standards for vehicle safety. The Arm Cortex-M4 core of the NXP MWCT1x23, which has DSP and a floating-point unit, operates at up to 168MHz. The Arm SecurCore SC300TM 32-bit RISC processor that powers the STM STSAFE-V110 has a protected operating system that increases the module's cryptographic security. Digital controllers for wireless transmitters STM STWBC2 HP are powered by a 32-bit Arm Cortex M0 CPU operating at up to 64MHz.   Higher rate of electricity transmission Despite the fact that mobile gadgets, such as cellphones and smartwatches, are becoming more energy-efficient generally, their increased processing power and feature sets make them more power-intensive, necessitating larger batteries. Manufacturers have been attempting to boost the power transmission rate using wireless charging to improve battery charging speed.   The STM STWLC98 is a 70W inductive power receiver that complies with Qi standards and doubles as a 15W wireless transmitter. Based on the WPC standard, the NXP MWCT1123 is a power transmitter controller module that can transmit power up to 65W.   Enhanced security features The functionality and greater power transfer capabilities of more recent wireless transmitters and receivers make them more likely to create unintended issues like overheating, overvoltage transmission, etc. Therefore, to assure the device's dependability, the most recent modules include a variety of protective mechanisms.   Foreign object identification, current overload and excessive voltage protection, thermal shut down and fault host management are features of the TI BQ51013B-Q1 and STM STWLC98. While certain devices, like the STM STSAFE-V110, provide cryptographical security, other modules, like NXP's MWCT1123, include a memory protection unit.   Additional interfaces It is possible to say that the new gadgets have more interfaces due to the wireless charging modules' incorporation of new features and potent CPUs.   The Lapis ML7660/7661, NXP MWCT1123, and STM STWBC2 all use the SPI/I2C master UART as a serial interface for communication. For communicating with external devices, the Renesas P9235A has five GPIOs whereas the STM STWBC2 has eight.   Smaller components for more intelligent wearables Be it your wristwatch, wireless earbuds, or any other device, electronic devices are getting more powerful while also becoming wireless. Additionally, the growing prevalence of IoT in our daily lives necessitates the use of small wireless charging modules. To make tiny modules, businesses like TI, ROHM, and Lapis are in competition.   The smallest wireless receiver that can give 1W of power is reportedly the Lapis ML7660/ML7661, while the ROHM BP3621 and BP3622 wireless charging modules have a compact form factor and an integrated antenna, which reduces the size of the product as well as the time and cost of development.   There are, however, a lot more emerging trends. The following describes a few of them.   Replacing silicon FET with GaN The next major thing in wireless is the use of GaN transistors, which will increase the range and power transfer rate. GaN can assist in charging at rates ranging from 30W to several kW, which was previously challenging with the silicon-based charger. In comparison to silicon-based alternatives, GaN-based chargers provide superior efficiency and higher charge transfer rates at a cheaper cost. Higher transmitting and receiving frequencies, such as 6.78MHz or 13.56MHz, made possible by GaN-based technologies are perfect for resonant charging.   The following are the primary benefits of using GaN FET:  
  • greater effectiveness
  • lower price
  • System size and weight are reduced.
  • reduced loss of surface heat
  • far-reaching charge
  The future of wireless harvesting of energy for low-power IoT devices is touted as RF charging. At CES 2022, the potential of RF wireless charging was highlighted. With the help of this charging method, charging is possible far from the transmitter.   Motorola displayed simultaneous over-the-air wireless charging for four phones at CES 2022 across distances of up to 122 cm (4 feet). Oppo and Xiaomi showed off their RF charging prototypes. Additionally, Samsung unveiled a remote with RF charging capabilities that was also highlighted in the Best of CES 2020.   Multiple frequencies from surroundings may be tapped into by the RF frequency charging. In the next few years, the technology is predicted to advance. Smart wearables, IoT sensors, and applications in the medical, military, sports, and many other areas are seen to be the best candidates for RF charging.   Engineers will have more latitude to create smaller, lighter products thanks to future wireless charging technologies as they won't need to include energy storage components like heavy batteries. Wireless charging is now a practical or, better yet, a necessary technology due to the increase in processing power of our mobile gadgets.   Wireless charging has applications outside of consumer devices, such as the automobile sector. Volvo has revealed that its XC-40 model would be able to receive electricity higher than 40kW in March 2022. This is much more than the current AC charging and almost similar to DC fast charging.   The secret to creating batteryless gadgets is RF charging. Therefore, wireless charging has a wide range of potential uses in business, medicine, smart clothing, and the military. We will eventually be able to do without chargers, wires, and power banks thanks to further advancements in this technology. The use of wireless charging technologies in public areas might happen shortly. Remote sensors will be able to operate flawlessly without assistance thanks to RF charging.
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