Scientists studying wireless electric transmission in Central Texas

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Michael Taniwha, who shares the following story from  KWTX (my comments follow the article excerpt):

CARL’S CORNER, Texas (KWTX) An oddly shaped, but prominent, roadside construction project along Interstate 35-East just north of Carl’s Corner is actually a high-tech study into the feasibility of transmitting electricity from place to place without wires.

Driving toward Dallas on Interstate 35 East, just past Carl’s Corner on the right, there’s a unique tower. It has a large circular base, a smaller round structure jutting from the top, and on top of the pole sits a large, round, metal-looking ball.

One of the broadcast engineers at KWTX noticed the thing while coming back from Dallas, took a picture and brought it to the newsroom so a reporter could figure out what it is.

Guesses ranged from some kind of electric-powered car charging port, or a radar for Dallas Fort Worth International Airport or Love Field, maybe something to do with the Internet and even a suggestion that it might be a prop on a new Star Trek movie set.

Turns out the first guess was closest.

It’s part of an experiment to study the feasibility of transmission of electric energy from source to user without using wires.

It’s being undertaken by a Waxahachie company named Viziv and it uses a technology they call a surface wave system.[…]

Click here to view the full article at KWTX.

Thanks for the tip, Mike!  I have read about wireless electrical transmission before, but was curious how Viziv might describe how it works.  The following was taken from their website:

Our Viziv surface wave system allows the Earth itself to be used for clean, safe and efficient transfer of power between any two points on the globe, wirelessly. The system represents a paradigm shift in the science of electromagnetics.

Today’s power distribution system of wired grids is fragile and aging. The transition to a global wireless system utilizing the Zenneck surface wave is a breakthrough that will effectively “cut the cord” between power generation facilities and the local distribution grids. This breakthrough will significantly enhance energy surety, reliability, and resiliency of the world’s electrical distribution systems.

Viziv Technologies has developed a system of patent-pending processes and equipment to efficiently launch the Zenneck surface wave. Currently, our research and commercialization efforts are focused on energy transfer and communications, but we recognize that this technology has the potential to impact numerous sectors of the economy.

A Zenneck Surface Wave is an electromagnetic wave that uses the surface of the earth as a waveguide enabling it to carry communications signals or electrical power efficiently over long distances.

This wireless power system will employ a “transmitter probe,” located near a power generation plant, to launch a Zenneck carrier wave. Receiver antennae will be positioned appropriately around the world to receive the signal and download the power into a local microgrid or conventional grid architecture.

The wave is impervious to weather effects such as lightning or geomagnetic disturbance or electromagnetic pulses (EMP), including those associated with a nuclear detonation. Unlike a wired grid, the Zenneck wave cannot be physically attacked and cyber attacks would be challenged to target or cause cascading failures to a wireless system.

When launched, the Zenneck Surface Wave literally envelops the planet like a balloon, enabling transmitter probes to be placed anywhere power can be generated and receivers to be placed anywhere power is needed.

I’ll be the first to admit that I can’t quite wrap my head around this sort of transmission technology.  I suppose I understand some of the underlying theory, but it’s hard for me to believe this would actually be an efficient means of transmitting electricity.  It also seems there would need to be extensive environmental impact studies in terms of this sort of loaded RF exposure, although Viziv adresses this:

“When the power industry looks at safety, they focus on two key factors: the potential for shock, and the local RF field strengths. Viziv surface wave systems meet the most stringent standards for both.”

Post Readers: Anyone familiar with this technology? Have any readers in Texas noticed this tower near Carl’s Corner? Please comment!

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16 thoughts on “Scientists studying wireless electric transmission in Central Texas

  1. Andy

    It’s just a massive radio transmitter, like Tesla’s. It will obey the laws of physics and this means that to get useful amounts of power at a distance the input power to the mast will have to be HUGE. Hardly ‘green’, is it? And God help any SWL’s within range.

  2. Mike

    When I first came across this article I had to check the publishing date i.e. April 1.

    Now hypothetically lets say this wireless transmission actually works, how do you stop someone receiving the wireless transmission and “free power”?

    1. william beaty

      Nikola Tesla wasn’t going to give it away free. Apparently he intended on broadcasting FHSS encrypted power signals, so that only the intended recipient could intercept it. He said that a 2-freq or 3-freq hopping sequence was barely crackable, but 4-freq was not, and he’d experimented with as high as 20-freq, likening it to a combination-lock with twenty digits. Also note that this stuff only works at extremely, enormously high Q, where a large number of cycles are required to build up your tank resonance to full power receiving. If I understand it, the variable coil/cap in your receiver’s huge tank circuit must perfectly track the transmission changes in phase/freq, otherwise it will dump out energy faster than it can absorb. It’s like having a long password, but where you can only give re-tries at a slow rate when you get it wrong.

  3. Jake Brodsky

    What frequency are they on?

    If it’s ELF, I suspect the people from the US Navy would like to have a word with them. Can’t have them interfering with Submarine communications, can we?

  4. Dave NM0S

    This company had been known as Texzon until recently, and must have apparently had a recent change of name. Their main published paper is found here:
    Basically they claim to be exciting a ‘Zenneck Surface Wave’ by using an electrically small antenna, which by virtue of its very small radiation resistance, requires very large currents to radiate power. Their supposition is that these high RF currents injected into the ground propagate with low loss, and can be harvested at some remote location. Presumably, by exploiting the reciprocal nature of antennas, a similar device would be employed to receive this RF power. It is not clear that they will be able to do something beyond what every crystal radio hobbyist has been doing for the past century.

    1. Thomas Post author

      Hope you don’t mind, Dave, but I turned your comment into a post so it would get more visibility. I love the analogy with crystal radio–that thought was in the back of my mind when I first gave this concept a little thought.

  5. Laurence N.

    So this company that nobody’s heard of has made a breakthrough that will first completely change the electrical power and communications economies, then every other sector of the economy on Earth. And their system is immune to pretty much everything. This doesn’t sound like a scam at all. Fortunately, as it’s impervious to everything, it would cause no problems for them if I get some friends, travel to Texas, and play around with various things that could theoretically disrupt them, such as actually hitting their gigantic metal thing with lightning. After all, it can’t do any damage, so what would the harm be?
    Also, any person (this is 100% of them) that says something that contains electronics is impervious to cyber attack is an idiot. They are usually proven wrong in a matter of days. The smart people know their thing is not immune to attack and so they spend time and money making it resistant to attack and capable of dealing with the results. Not these masterminds, it seems.


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