The Swedish Chalmers University has presented a new technology for inductive charging. The new system is powerful enough to charge large vehicles such as ferries and trucks in particular. By doing without diesel, vehicles could become more sustainable.
Researchers at Chalmers University in Sweden recently developed a new technology for inductive charging presented. The system can charge batteries with a capacity of up to 500 kilowatts – without connecting them to the charger via a cable.
Inductive charging: new system for ferries and trucks
With such performance, the new charging technology is particularly interesting for electric ferries, trucks, buses and autonomous vehicles in mining and agriculture. Because robot arms or sockets would no longer be used and human help would no longer be necessary.
In fact, electric toothbrushes have been working this way for decades. In recent years, mobile phones and other portable electronic devices have also adopted this technology.
For the high power required to charge the batteries in an electric vehicle, however, the wireless option has until now seemed too complicated and inefficient.
Inductive charging: New products enable higher efficiency
Two factors in particular make the transmission of high power through the air realistic: Firstly, a new type of semiconductor based on silicon carbide. On the other hand, a newly developed copper wire that is as thin as a human hair.
Both, in turn, enable higher voltages, higher temperatures and a much higher switching frequency compared to classic silicon-based devices. This is particularly important as the frequency of the magnetic field is the limit of how much power can be transferred between two coils of a given size.
With the help of the new components, the research group has found a way to achieve an efficiency of 98 percent. This means that the losses with inductive charging are just as low as with conductive charging through a cable.
Charging works automatically
Yujing Liu, a professor of electrical energy at the Chalmers School of Electrical Engineering, was instrumental in developing the new technology. In his work, he mainly deals with the conversion of renewable energies and the electrification of the transport system.
“You can build a system in the pier that charges the ferry at some stops while passengers are boarding and disembarking,” Yuying said. “The charging process takes place automatically and completely independently of weather and wind and can take place 30 to 40 times a day.” That is probably the most obvious application, according to the professor.
Device for inductive charging should be mass-produced
According to the researchers, the new charger is already complete and ready to go into commercial production. We are already in close contact with manufacturers of SiC modules from the USA and Germany. With their help, a rapid product development in the direction of even higher currents, voltages and effects should take place.
Yujing doesn’t think inductive charging will ever replace cable charging. In addition, the new technology is no more sustainable than conventional charging systems. However, it could facilitate the electrification of large vehicles and thus accelerate the abolition of diesel-powered ferries, for example.
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