Superconducting Resonant Inductive Wireless Power Transfer
The UMD Space Power and Propulsion Laboratory, in collaboration with Axis Engineering Technologies is developing a wireless power transfer system for power rovers operating within the permanent shadow of the polar craters of the moon. The system operates using resonant inductive coupling and uses a pair of dielectricless high temperature superconducting (HTS) coils to transfer power collected by solar panels at the crater rim into the depths of the crater, minimizing loss and maximizing efficiency. The cryogenic temperatures required to keep the HTS coils in their superconducting state comes for free in within the permanently shadowed crater, but must be actively maintained on the crater rim where there is full sunlight. In this environment, the HTS coil is enclosed within the vapor space of a hoop cryogenic heat pipe, with multi-layer insulation (MLI) to keep most of the solar heat flux out, and a cryocooler to actively remove the heat that makes it in. Depending on the size of the coils, power levels of hundreds of watts can be transferred several hundred meters.