Ambient RF energy harvesting and efficient DC-load inductive power transfer
This thesis analyses in detail the technology required for wireless power transfer via radio frequency (RF) ambient energy harvesting and an inductive power transfer system (IPT). Radio frequency harvesting circuits have been demonstrated for more than fifty years, but only a few have been able to harvest energy from freely available ambient (i.e. non-dedicated) RF sources. To explore the potential for ambient RF energy harvesting, a city-wide RF spectral survey was undertaken in London. Using
... n in London. Using the results from this survey, various harvesters were designed to cover four frequency bands from the largest RF contributors within the ultra-high frequency (0.3 to 3 GHz) part of the frequency spectrum. Prototypes were designed, fabricated and tested for each band and proved that approximately half of the London Underground stations were found to be suitable locations for harvesting ambient RF energy using the prototypes. Inductive Power Transfer systems for transmitting tens to hundreds of watts have been reported for almost a decade. Most of the work has concentrated on the optimization of the link efficiency and have not taken into account the efficiency of the driver and rectifier. Class-E amplifiers and rectifiers have been identified as ideal drivers for IPT applications, but their power handling capability at tens of MHz has been a crucial limiting factor, since the load and inductor characteristics are set by the requirements of the resonant inductive system. The frequency limitation of the driver restricts the unloaded Q-factor of the coils and thus the link efficiency. The system presented in this work alleviates the use of heavy and expensive field-shaping techniques by presenting an efficient IPT system capable of transmitting energy with high dc-to-load efficiencies at 6 MHz across a distance of 30 cm.