DARPA, the research and development arm of the US Department of Defense, is working on a global wireless energy transfer network to provide almost uninterrupted power to military bases worldwide. This ambitious project involves using laser technology to transmit electricity around the planet, and is set to fulfill Nikola Tesla’s century-old dream.
The technology, dubbed POWER (Persistent Optical Wireless Energy Relay), would remove the military’s dependence on diesel fuel and vulnerable electric grids that can be sabotaged or disrupted by enemy forces. It would also help reduce the military’s carbon footprint.
Colonel Paul Calhoun, a military official involved in the project, said that the need for more resilient energy transport methods for military operations is at an all-time high. With military facilities scattered around the world, the demand for energy is ever increasing and meeting this demand is often a challenge.
Calhoun describes the POWER project as an optical energy beaming program. DARPA’s goal is to transmit energy via lasers with minimal energy loss in the upper atmosphere. The biggest challenge at the moment is to ensure maximum efficiency in energy conversion. DARPA is working on developing effective relays to revolutionize energy conversion. The project aims to transmit laser energy to US military bases via long-lasting satellites and drones.
As with all DARPA projects, the viability of the POWER project will be demonstrated in theory before being handed over to other relevant organizations. In addition, the project has the potential to benefit commercial sectors, such as providing energy to hard-to-reach rural areas and research facilities. If successful, the POWER project could pave the way for a new era of clean and reliable energy transmission.