Connect with us


Discussion in 'Electrical Engineering' started by Tim Gard, Mar 5, 2007.

Scroll to continue with content
  1. Tim Gard

    Tim Gard Guest

    Can you use a laser to transmit electricity? Have we done this practically,
    or is it only a theory? If so, what is the efficiency? Does anyone know
    the efficiency of a typical high tension line?

    Tim Gard
  2. Tim Gard

    Tim Gard Guest

    Ack!! You smoked me Salmon ... (pardon the pun) I'll have to cook that for
    a while ...

    Tim Gard
  3. Tim Gard

    Tim Gard Guest

    You would have to first define what is meant by transmit and then how
    I want to transmit energy in the form of light ... laser light specifically.

    And light is matter.

    Based on this, consider my original post question;

    Can you use a laser to transmit electricity? Have we done this
    practically, or is it only a theory? If so, what is the efficiency?

    I believe this has been done, I just wasn.t sure. Or how efficient it was.

    Tim Gard
  4. Don Kelly

    Don Kelly Guest

    Not really - note that I have seen electrical discharges produced in air by
    high concentrations of energy from a laser. but that isn't of much use.
    The energy efficiency of a laser is actually quite abyssmal. The advantage
    of a laser from an energy point of view is that one can get high energy
    density. For transmission, the old fashioned power line is cheaper and more
  5. Tim Gard

    Tim Gard Guest

    And with *that* nose we should all be wary gnome!

  6. Tim Gard

    Tim Gard Guest


    That is what I learned about fifteen years ago and wondered if we had any
    advancement since my last contact with it..
    Could losses be overcome in a controlled atmosphere such as argon?
    Is the efficiency converting back from light to electricity still as bad as
    it was?
    Copper power lines are dismal, and that science is ancient. With all our
    technology, have we not bettered that yet?

  7. Don Kelly

    Don Kelly Guest

    Yes, we use aluminum cable with steel cores.:)
    Why do you say copper lines are dismal? Have we anything that comes remotely
    near them for energy transmission. Unfortunately not. If one could transmit
    power 100 miles with an efficiency of the order of 90-95% as is the
    situation, then why would one use lasers at possibly 2% efficiency
    (optimistic) conversion and over such a distance, collect about 1-2% of that
    and convert it back to electricity with a device with 20% efficiency?
    Perfectly co-linear lasers do not exist so there is beam spreading. There
    is also energy loss due to scattering in the medium. I doubt whether a
    controlled atmosphere with any gas would do. A vacuum would be better but in
    either case- how straight a tube can you make over a long distance? A small
    kink would result in disaster as the beam would destroy the pipe. In
    addition, you are then looking at the capital costs involved which would
    make overhead power lines look cheap.

    Changes that have taken place with power lines are the use of bundled
    conductors and also the development of higher voltage systems as well as
    reactive controls for such systems. The basic "wires hung from insulators"
    still is very good compared to anything else.

    Admittedly my own experience with high power lasers is limited to
    association with a person who built and tested such lasers. A 20KW CO2 laser
    needed a large power supply that in itself took up about twice the volume
    of an ordinary living room and needed connections to a cooling system that
    was intended for building cooling. The advantage was that it could
    concentrate a lot of energy in a small area- so could burn through firebrick
    quite easily, weld aluminum to stainless steel and cut or weld pipe such as
    used oil pipelines (it's intended purpose). --

    Don Kelly
    remove the X to answer
Ask a Question
Want to reply to this thread or ask your own question?
You'll need to choose a username for the site, which only take a couple of moments (here). After that, you can post your question and our members will help you out.
Electronics Point Logo
Continue to site
Quote of the day