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Tell me again why we can't store or use the electricity from lightning?

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posted on May, 21 2006 @ 03:25 AM
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While I understand lightning only lasts milliseconds, from what I understand it produces huge amounts of electricity enough to power major cities for weeks?

My question is why can't we set up huge batteries/vacuums/magnets to collect at least some of this energy to use for ourselves?

If it can show us that it has the power to electricute people to death, why can't we get it to power a generator?

[edit on 21-5-2006 by Low Orbit]




posted on May, 21 2006 @ 03:29 AM
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It's just not cost effiecient.

And I don't know about "powering an entire city for weeks" - that seems a little inflated.



posted on May, 21 2006 @ 08:29 AM
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I think that it cant be used is because its to powerful. how to charge a battery that fast is not possible today. If there was a way to hold ions in a field would be something. but the amount of energy to hold them would probably be not enough to counter its benefit.



posted on May, 21 2006 @ 08:30 AM
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its like trying to convert a shotgun blast into air to blow up a Balloon.\


just too much at once.


maybe if you could tear electricity from lightning as it strikes, u can power a light everytime it strikes maybe. but to grab that bolt u need Zeuz..

A magnetic field could pry some out, but i dunno if it could contain a whole bolt.

[edit on 21-5-2006 by Tranceopticalinclined]



posted on May, 21 2006 @ 09:26 AM
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Yeah, as said best, it's like trying to blow up a balloon using the air from a shot-gun.

For us, it's because if the electricity hit our "lightning collector", then the electricity couldn't be STORED anywhere. Batteries would be ripped apart/explode from the sudden infusion of energy. They would probably melt from the collosal heat such a rapid transmission of energy would release.

If you try to, instead, send the eletricity into the power-lines directly, then every electrical device that's turned on within a 1/4 mile would be blown - the wires within melting and fusing with others.

It's just too much power at once, and no way to hold the power for a slow-release later.



posted on May, 21 2006 @ 09:30 AM
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Where would you put the lightning "receiving" station?

A few million bucks spent just to watch lightning hit elsewhere would have company stockholders up in arms.

Assuming you could capture the lightning at a receiving station, the lines that tie to the electrical grid would be exposed and there's a good probability lightning would knock them out as well.

Lightning is strange stuff and does funny things.
It doesn't always hit where you think it will.
Even in lightning prone areas.



posted on May, 21 2006 @ 09:53 AM
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Is there any possible way we could harvest energy slowly from the sky?! Like keeping the potential difference between earth and sky the same by collecting charge slowly as it comes? Like if u got a big metal rod sticking in the ksy and a bulb half way down to the ground, could you light it up? (for example) as you could get current to pass from the sky to the ground?


d1k

posted on May, 21 2006 @ 10:22 AM
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I'm surprised we cannot use/collect/store lightning bolts in this day and age. Why not use the lightning rods that are already on buildings and have the energy distributed to a farm of collectors? Instead of using the shotgun to fill one ballon distribute the force evenly and fill a thousand. We can already withstand hits to lightning rods.



posted on May, 21 2006 @ 10:25 AM
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good question Shakey, one add on question is wouldn't a grand form of electrolysis work if properly set up.

hyperphysics.phy-astr.gsu.edu...

Or better put, could you splice a lightning rod enough times to make it possible?


I envision having these devices on the back of 18 wheelers and driven to the most likely spot for lightning storms.



posted on May, 21 2006 @ 10:49 AM
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That's exactly the problem though, you can't make the lightning do anything it doesn't want to do.



If you present a bolt of lightning with a channel that branches out in a hundred directions, the lightning may go 100% into one channel, or 99% into one channel and the rest down two others, and so on. In order to direct the lightning you have to match it in power, to create sufficient resistance. We can't do that economically, I don't think.

This problem has always fascinated me. I'm thinking the goal might be set too high. Rather than trying to split the bolts, we should maybe be trying to utilize the bolts in transit to induce a state change in some material, and utilize the energy put off by that reaction instead. Obviously it's highly inefficient, but it may be a necessary stepping stone.

The lightning won't fry anything as long as it's not bottlenecked or sparked off, if you could keep it going around in circles or something, in giant underground coils, you might be able to produce steam, or condensation, or plasma, or something, and use that as the driver.

I don't know, but it's a fascinating topic.

[edit on 21-5-2006 by WyrdeOne]



posted on May, 21 2006 @ 10:50 AM
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All that would be needed is a big enough capacitor/layden jar with a quick response time and a suitable dielectric.

Simple really.

Cheers

JS



posted on May, 21 2006 @ 11:14 AM
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Yeh but the way my idea does it is different. If you had a giant rod collecting the charge as it built up, ligthning wouldn't occur. It would just be a continuous stream of electrons from the sky to the ground due to a build up in potential difference - Would this work?
It takes away the problem of lightning uncertainty and too much at once. Any comments?



posted on May, 21 2006 @ 11:28 AM
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I have a thread on here about how to make home made fulgurites, definately not the safest way to get them but I thought you might find it of some interest...
www.abovetopsecret.com...
The upper atmosphere and the surface of the earth act like two seperate plates of a wimshurst machine, it is thought that thunderheads act to shorten the 'spark gap' causing a discharge. Tesla claimed it was possible to create city sized bolts of lightning.



posted on May, 21 2006 @ 12:39 PM
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maybe if u had a lightning rod connected straight to a Long Heavy Commerical grade wire with converters comming off at various grid like arrays, you could harness the electric bolt as it struck, just would only be able to use this power to power another power maker

Like Leach off it. not stop it directly just ride it an mine it.

[edit on 21-5-2006 by Tranceopticalinclined]



posted on May, 21 2006 @ 01:56 PM
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I suspect the reason we can't do this is because lightning is a static shock. Think getting shocked by metal stuff when you go down a slide. You need an electric current in order for electricity to be used. The static shock would power whatever it hit for however long the lightning lasted. That's not long. And it would probly fry it anyway.


apc

posted on May, 21 2006 @ 05:45 PM
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Obviously charging a battery is out, so that leaves capacitors.

A lightning bolt can be 30,000 amps at 100,000,000 to 1,000,000,000 volts. I know of no capacitance technology that can rate this high. Not to mention, lightning is high frequency discharge. Capacitors store low frequency and pass high frequencies.

So either nothing happens and no charge is obtained, or the whole thing explodes in a big smelly mess of electrolyte.

I agree the only plausible use today is the heat. Tomorrow of course could be different.



posted on May, 21 2006 @ 06:08 PM
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Yes, we will have to wait until technology can accept such a huge amount of electricity, and store it safely and efficiently.

I know there already exists a 'lightening tower' I believe its somewhere in europe. Its a large experiment to attract lightening and attempt to store it... so far, no successes other than storing 'some' of the electricity (By some, I mean a very minute amount of it).

The tower attracts somewere of dozens of lightening hits per day.

I'll try to find the information again... I'm going by memory, and some of the figures could be wrong.

But there definately is a facility set up to attempt just that.

As others have noted, none of our technology can accept and store that kind of amperage all at once... its rediculous how much energy we could get out of lightening... absoulutely extraordinary.

If there were such a technology though, it would put literally millions of power plant workers out of work. Something I dont believe any government would be willing to allow... no matter how much consumers wanted it.



posted on May, 21 2006 @ 06:16 PM
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I wonder why not more people have tried to solve this problem.. if setup at a place with much lightning this could probably power a small town ?? Im not sure how much power a small town would need or how much can be extracted from lightning.. but it defenitley seems worth exploring.



posted on May, 21 2006 @ 06:33 PM
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Oh it would power more than just a small town if one could collect all of the power from the strike.

Unfortunately, its a matter of consumer worth. People would be put out of buisness, the economy would take a large blow, and governments REALLY dont like that. (Especially if its near election year).

UPDATE:
Im still looking for that darn tower online, any assistance would help... but...

A main argument against lightening power plants, is that there arent enough lightening strikes in one area to justify a power plant... those who are making this argument have not looked into the technology at all.

The proposed power plants are called lightening attractors for a reason, they attract lightening. Depending on the height of the attraction tower, the plant could attract lightening and divert it towards itself should the natural trajectory have been a few miles away!

Also, recent experiments with lasers have proven that a path of air occupied by the laser used in the experiment is more than 50 times as conductive than air without the laser passing through it. Interesting stuff... this would mean that you could actually target a charged area of atmosphere with a lazer, and a lightening strike would follow that lasers path, right back to the lightening attractor.

You wouldnt even have to have a storm, just detect a charged area of atmosphere and aim the laser at it. Such a concept would put current 'lightening rod attractors' to rest, allowing you to pull a lightening strike where and when you feel like it.


On a personal thought, should these laser born attractors be placed outside city limits, they could be used to reduce the chance of a lightening strike from occuring within the city confines... putting firefighters minds at ease to say the least.

[edit on 21-5-2006 by johnsky]



posted on May, 21 2006 @ 06:55 PM
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Lightning energy could be stored if you could make a dialectric to withstand 100's of millions of volts, but the issue then arrises to how you would step that voltage down to be usefull. The only real method to do this would be via large bleed resistors to ground (very innefficient) as no transformer could be made with sufficient insulation to take the massive instant TVA's. So in a word Lightning is pretty well out of our reach for the time being to be used as a source for storage of energy.



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