Improving on batteries is the talk of many engineers:
- How do we make the battery smaller, more powerful, and last longer all at the same time?
- Which materials are the best, while being most environmentally friendly?
- How can we scale battery production with the rapid growth of Internet of Things (IoT) and Operational Technology (OT)?
Device designers and developers too are impacted by the challenges with disposable and rechargeable batteries, including sourcing, size and placement, accessibility, and recycling.
But all of these challenges focus on the technology — the battery — and not the desired outcome.
Focus on the desired outcome: A longer lasting electronic device that can scale sustainably with the pace of innovation
Once we focus on the outcome, rather than the current, flawed solution, we can start evaluating and developing other technologies that might complement or eventually replace our current way of powering up.
In the case of EVs, that means not only focusing on battery-electric, but also alternatives like e-fuels1, made from carbon dioxide and hydrogen,2 and other green technologies. For devices like wearables, sensors, IoT, and other electronics, that means switching our focus from batteries to more sustainable options like RF-based wireless power.
RF-based wireless power relieves our heavy reliance on batteries
Real Wireless Power changes the whole focus of designing devices and systems around the limitations of batteries to designing the best device and system possible.
Wireless power over air doesn’t require space for batteries, doesn’t need recycling, and reduces the weight of devices and can help them last longer, which reduces landfill waste.3 It’s also scalable and sustainable, and doesn’t require the extra labor of plugging in or swapping out disposables.
Finding the sustainable alternative to batteries
For wireless power over air to succeed, it requires a mind shift and infrastructure change, much like with EVs. With EVs, the anxiety of finding a place to plug in will exist until charging stations are as plentiful as gas stations or an alternative sustainable fuel source is developed and adopted to augment the current EV battery technology and/or help satisfy upcoming combustion-engine regulations, like in the EU.4 The EU Council “agreed to introduce a 100% CO2 emissions reduction target by 2035 for new cars and vans.”5
Vehicles that run on rechargeable batteries help reduce our reliance on fossil fuels, but it’s not solving the sustainability challenge at all. Batteries of any kind leave a big, damaging footprint on the planet.6 "The global warming potential from electric vehicle production is about twice that of conventional vehicles."7
The problem is, the automotive industry for the most part is hyperfocused on the sure thing — the electric battery — and may be missing out on developing other, more sustainable, technologies. Like eFueled vehicles. Or wirelessly powered sensors to support electric vehicle technologies.
Engineers who are focused on building a better disposable or rechargeable device battery may be doing the same thing. Many don’t realize that an alternative “sure thing,” wireless power, is available today and regulatory approved globally for a huge number of applications.
If we’re following the historical trend of technology adoption, for wireless power to relieve us of our huge dependence on batteries, the use cases must be proven, one by one, company by company, in the real world. You might be surprised to hear that this is happening now. As the benefits are felt in real time, more and more organizations will join the race to be first in wirelessly powered devices like:
Changing the focus from best battery to best outcome
Instead of asking, how can we improve on the battery, let’s change the question to how can we get the best outcome?
- Are there alternative power sources to solve our energy needs? Which ones?
- In what ways could we use wireless power over air instead of batteries or to supplement batteries?
- How would an alternative energy source like wireless power change our product designs?
- In addition to not relying on batteries, how would a sustainable energy source like wireless power enhance or transform our business?
- Which use cases will we build out as our proof of concept? (Hint: ask us about our QRx kit that can help expedite this process.)
Wireless power over air, at a distance, and without the need for line of sight is being integrated in many different applications by forward thinking organizations. (Here’s how it works.) Will yours be next?
1 E-fuels are also often called hydrogen cells, synthetic fuel, synfuel, and hydrogen combustion