Wireless power company Emrod beams 550 W across an Airbus warehouse

Demo shows promise as EU revives talk of space-based solar power

In our wireless world, wires are still the best way to move electricity from A to B. Wires are almost always cheaper and easier, at least from a technical perspective, but there are instances where wires may not be an ideal solution.

For lazy people charging their phones — including yours truly — a wireless charging pad is nice to have. For people on remote islands, wireless power could be transformative. Same with space-based solar power, a proposed type of power plant that relies on wireless power transfer to beam energy from orbiting solar panels down to Earth.

Space-based solar power is why the European Space Agency and Airbus have taken an interest in wireless power transfer. Both organizations think that space-based solar power could be the next big thing. Or one of the next big things. Or at least a thing. Which is why the pair teamed up with New Zealand-based startup Emrod to demonstrate a wireless power transfer system in Munich last week.