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.[…]
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:
WHAT IT IS
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.
HOW IT WORKS
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!