Wireless Power Transfer: Efficiency, Far Field, Directivity, and Phased Array Antennas
thesisposted on 05.08.2021, 14:32 authored by Abigail Jubilee Kragt FinnellAbigail Jubilee Kragt Finnell
This thesis is an examination of one of the main technologies to be developed on the path to Space Solar Power (SSP): Wireless Power Transfer (WPT), specifically power beaming. While SSP has been the main motivation for this body of work, other applications of power beaming include ground-to-ground energy transfer, ground to low-flying satellite wireless power transfer, mother-daughter satellite configurations, and even ground-to-car or ground-to-flying-car power transfer. More broadly, Wireless Power Transfer falls under the category of radio and microwave signals; with that in mind, some of the topics contained within can even be applied to 5G or other RF applications. The main components of WPT are signal transmission, propagation, and reception. This thesis focuses on the transmission and propagation of wireless power signals, including beamforming with Phased Array Antennas (PAAs) and evaluations of transmission and propagation efficiency. Signals used to transmit power long distances must be extremely directive in order to deliver the power at an acceptable efficiency and to prevent excess power from interfering with other RF technology. Phased array antennas offer one method of increasing the directivity of a transmitted beam through off-axis cancellation from the multi-antenna source. Besides beamforming, another focus of this work is on the equations used to describe the efficiency and far field distance of transmitting antennas. Most previously used equations, including the Friis equation and the Goubau equation, are formed by examining singleton antennas, and do not account for the unique properties of antenna arrays. Updated equations and evaluation methods are presented both for the far field and the efficiency of phased array antennas. Experimental results corroborate the far field model and efficiency equation presented, and the implications of these results regarding space solar power and other applications are discussed. The results of this thesis are important to the applications of WPT previously mentioned, and can also be used as a starting point for further WPT and SSP research, especially when looking at the foundations of PAA technology.