Thursday, October 27, 2005

Wireless Power - an electrical flood?

In a Wired article titled - 'Space Geeks Seek Wireless Power' - the subject of generating power by converting it to lasers or microwaves, then beaming it to another point and reconvert it into electricity, is discussed. In this system,it could 'beam power to hard-to-reach rural areas without running expensive power lines -- or could even beam it down to Earth from power stations in space.'

This is an interesting addition to recent posts on electromagnetic + other forms of wave-radiation. The technology for beaming microwave power from solar-powered satellites is now about possible. Yet how will these additional microwave beams, to be converted into electricity, further complicate our already wave-saturated environment in terms of public health and state of mind?

Also, as the article states: "the U.S. military is developing a new class of potentially non-lethal "directed-energy weapons" that could create a Star Trek-esque world of warfare. Set the phaser to stun or kill, depending on the situation.

Defense contractor Raytheon actually delivered an energy-weapon prototype to the Pentagon earlier this year, and some believe such weapons could see combat in Iraq and Afghanistan by late 2006. Meanwhile, the idea of wireless energy transmission continues to evoke on-and-off interest from governments around the world."

Would this lead to terrestrial networks of power-beaming stations that could fuel electric cars and other vehicles? One such plan would involve building 20,000 to 30,000 reception stations on Earth to accept the power beams and convert them into electricity that could be distributed to the population. How would so many receiver stations affect human biological functioning, cognition, and evolution?

The future is both fascinating and scary.

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