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By Bojan Djuric
#417
Since lightnings create a lot of energy, can't that energy somehow be caught and stored for use?

Reward: Just mention my name.
By will
#445
its too much ot store at once, you would have to have A LOT of resistance to power it down, but then you wouldnt have much left. perhaps, create a small scale controlled lightning strike?
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By Michael D. Grissom
#2250
You can build a device to attract lightning (like a lightning rod on top of a tower) and then channel it into a boiler to create instant steam to power an engine to turn a generator. Then, if you lived around St. Petersburg Florida (heaviest strike zone in the US), you might be able to capture enough bolts during a typical storm to power your house for an hour or so.
By midoh
#4467
Bojan, I posted an idea similar to yours-sorry for stealing your thunder :-D My idea is to use the lightening bolt to power a sort of mobile atom-smasher/particle detector mounted on a large truck. For repeat 'hits' you would have to drive the truck to the nearest active storm-cell,in the manner of the Storm chasers (U.S. meterologists) you may have seen on the discovery channel.
I don't know off-hand how practical this might be.Lightening bolts can pack enough punch to knock out the electricity grid for a couple of hours.
Whoever would be doing the electrical wiring for this wouldn't want to get their wires crossed! :-o :-o :-o
By Rishi
#4469
It is the voltage level that starts the fireworks. But it is the charge transfer(Current in normal electricity) that does the work. By the time enough voltage builds up in the clouds enough to cause a strike the damage is done. The issue is to tap into the charge before it builds up too high a voltage. Unfortunately these are static charges and require different handling.

Quite a bit of work has gone into attempts to make a static motor, where a long antenna tethered to a balloon or such reaches high enough to collect the charges.

It is a great idea to tap into a boundless source of renewable energy! Cannot be ignored.

It is all not a waste though. The bolt converts the nitrogen molecules in the air along with the water vapour associated with clouds into soluble nitrogen oxides, which get washed down by rain as fertilizer. Actually the total amount of nitrogen fixed by lightning(Mainly the glow discharge, rather than the spectacular forked ones) is more than the output from all the ferilizer plans in the world.

Rishi
By midoh
#4480
:-? Rishi,your last post reminded me about a famous chemistry experiment involving simulated lightening bolts!(ie electrical discharges) The experiment consisted of replicating the Earths primitive atmosphere ,a mixture of Methane,Ammonia and Water and passing electrical discharges through this cocktail for a couple of days.
A black sticky goo formed at the bottom of the flask.Analysis of the goo showed it to be a mixture of Amino Acids (the building blocks of proteins!).
The amino acids contained Carbon,Oxygen,Nitrogen & Hydrogen in various combinations.
It may be that Lightening helped to kick-start life on our planet. You, & everyone in the creativitypool may have originated from a bolt out of the blue !!!!:-b
By Rishi
#4482
What an exciting thought!
Lucifer,Son of the Morning, kind of thing.
While the amino acids came out of the primordial cocktail, what breathed life into it? Whence the Soul, that is, if we accept the concept of soul at all.

Le Comte du Nuoy argued that the staistical probability of these molecules accidentally forming life was almost nil.

Thanks for an exciting origin

Regards,

Rishi
By MathMan141
#5146
Technically, there is enough electrical energy from lightning bolts across the U.S. such that only about 30% of that energy would need to be harnessed to power the entire U.S. continually (assuming there was a way to store excess energy). So, whoever determines an efficient way to utilize lightning will be extremely rich and famous. Presumably, though, it would take an enormous amount of experimentation and effort to achieve anything practical.

A competition should be started to see who can achieve 10% or greater efficiency from lightning, with a reward of $50 million or so. If even 10% efficiency could be achieved, the world would be changed radically.

It has been discovered that lightning bolts can be triggered by laser beams sent up into thunderstorms (see http://www.spie.org/app/Publications/ma ... light.html). Thus, potentially, instead of just using a lightning rod and tower, lasers could be used to help attract the bolts and greatly increase the utilization of lightning.
By ACES Int'l
#19283
A Practical Approach To Electric Energy Through Lightning Capture and Storage

"A learned blockhead is a greater blockhead than an ignorant one"... (Benjamin Franklin). That quotation is my constant reminder to myself to avoid being a blockhead... to try to remain practical... to keep an idea simple... and that all "truth" is: beauty, elegance and designed by a higher power than myself. To understand that creation has already taken place releases me from the burden to try to create... and instead allows me to focus only upon trying to understand that which has already been created. With that understanding... (which I consider knowledge)... it then becomes just a matter of finding uses for the things which God has already created... and the things that I am trying to understand.

Before any discussion can take place concerning the attempt to capture and store lightning for practical applications... it's necessary to consider how lightning is produced... which is... in and of itself... a wonderful creation! There have already been published detailed descriptions of how lightning is formed... so to be practical... to keep the idea simple... it can be explained as simply as this: Lightning is created by electronic friction between hot and cold elements. It's interesting to note that this naturally occurring power source... which is hotter by many times than the surface of the sun and produces enough energy in a millionth of a second to sustain a man's energy needs for a month... yet requires nothing as its fuel... other than the natural atmosphere in which we all live... is still waiting to be harnessed.

Friction and Superconductors.

Sometimes a problem we have has already been solved by someone else that is working in an unrelated field of study... so the "answer" we are seeking may be right in front of us... but we haven't connected the pieces of the puzzle together yet... we haven't "solved the Rubick's Cube"... because we fail to see that discovery... knowledge... understanding... and yes... "truth"... is not derived from just ourselves... it requires collaboration... the sharing of ideas and differing technologies to overcome obstacles to completing our work. Benjamin Franklin understood that nature's diversity consists of OPPOSITES... he frequently presented an opposite view (instead of his own) to make his point... by taking an opposite approach to a problem... in this case the problem is "friction" or "resistance" which makes the capture of lightning impractical because when we try to imagine capturing the energy from lightning by using present electrical materials such as a conductive electrical wire... we are stumped by the problem of friction. However... if we consider using a waveguide utilizing superconductor materials (materials which exhibit NO electronic friction when conducting electrons)... we may have solved one-half of the puzzle... current research into inexpensive superconductors and the use of these materials for electric transmission lines is rapidly expanding (See: http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/ ... 052808.php ). I refer to "one-half" of the puzzle because the friction of electrons that created the lightning also produces heat... which interestingly enough... is hotter than the heat which is generated by the nuclear fusion which powers our sun... giving rise to the thought that research into using the heat from a lightning strike may lead to sustained and controllable nuclear fusion as another source of energy... afterall... you would need a source of heat greater than the present output of the sun to start that nuclear-fusion engine in the first place. So perhaps the "problem" of ways of dealing with the dissipation of heat from lightning may in and of itself... lead to discoveries beyond the scope of this discussion.

Storage of Microbursts of Massive Electrical Energy.

I'd like to present something to you that has fascinated me since I was a child... try standing in front of a bathroom or bedroom or other large mirror while holding a hand-held mirror ... it may take a bit of positioning... but try to look into one mirror while it is reflecting back to the mirror you are holding... it seems to me to represent infinity... especially if you try to look all the way down to the end of the reflections as much as you possibly can... in all actuality... it represents a practical way to "catch lightning in a bottle". If you are dealing with a massive amount of energy that can only be dissipated fractionally at any instant... this "almost endless loop" approach... (remember that superconductors allow electrons to flow without friction and at a constant rate and constant speed for a theoretically endless period of time... as long as the superconductive materials maintain its temperature)... would allow specially-designed electric storage materials interspaced with the superconductors to fractionally tap off and store the energy from a single lightning strike until all of the energy contained in the lightning strike has been completely stored for re-use.

I suppose that Benjamin Franklin would take an "opposite" approach to a "ground storage" facility which I've suggested above... instead he might visualize attempting to capture and store electrical energy from lightning from a "space-based" facility... by dropping tethered superconductor waveguides from an orbiting platform down to the upper reaches of the lightning-producing areas of the atmosphere... but that's just my idea of how he might approach the problem first. Technology in lasers (as previously discussed by others in this forum) have the promise of stimulating lightning to occur... for the most part... when and where we want it to occur (depending on the atmospheric conditions)... it is now only a matter of "capture and storage" to make energy from lightning... readily available... inexpensive... renewable... and a reality for us all.
By ACES Int'l
#19294
A Practical Approach To Electric Energy Through Lightning Capture and Storage (continued)

Catching "Lightning in a Bottle".

The discovery of superconductors... and the present research into practical usages of these newly-discovered materials... may hold the answers to a way to capture and store the electrical energy from lightning. Presently, the focus on superconductor research has been on the race to reduce the required temperatures necessary for materials to exhibit the properties of superconduction... as most of the scientific world are spending vast amounts of resources trying to search for practical uses for materials which exhibit superconducting properties at close to earth-based "normal" atmospheric temperatures. Research includes attempting to discover less expensive materials that do not require super-cooling to provide frictionless electron movement... research into materials that can be shaped into round wires for electrical distribution systems... and research into superconductive components like switches and superconductive field-effect transistors ( To view an article on a superconductor field-effect transistor now in development, see: http://www.bnl.gov/bnlweb/pubaf/pr/PR_d ... p?prID=822 ). In addition to what is now known about superconducting materials... plasma laser researchers have also recently discovered that they may be able to induce and target lightning strikes by creating plasma filaments within atmospheric cloud formations found in naturally-occuring storms.

What present researchers do not see... is that they have already discovered the required materials and technologies necessary to harness electrical energy from lightning... we can... using present technologies and materials... "capture lightning in a bottle". Here's how a practical lightning capture and storage system might be achieved:

A coil of superconductive material would comprise the "storage system"... the superconductive coil must maintain its superconductive state for a period of time necessary to draw off the stored electrical energy... this could be accomplished through the use of a sustainable "super-cooling" system of liquid nitrogen or liquid helium (or a combination of both) so that the captured electrical energy from a single lightning strike would maintain its friction-free movement through the superconductive coil material until all of the stored energy could be drawn off. Therefore, the coil of superconductive material would need to be of a "closed-loop" design... with a "trigger mechanism" (discussed further in the following section) that will allow the superconductive coil to draw in the energy from the lightning strike and... once fully energized... the "trigger mechanism" would in effect "snap shut"... trapping the electrical energy from the lightning strike and confining it to the superconductive coil. In the same manner that the "trigger mechanism" would serve to allow the initial capture of the lightning strike(s)... these same "trigger mechanisms" would be intersperced in the superconductive storage coil to allow the stored energy to be drawn off... slowly... and through conventional means... such as power generators... capacitors...battery storage systems... or other energy-producing machines and motors.

The Importance of the Discovery of Superconducting Field-Effect Transistors.

Finding a superconductive "switch" or "gate" (see the article on the discovery of the superconductive field-effect transistor) has tremendous importance to the ability to capture and use the stored lightning energy. With a way to "tap off" massive amounts of electrical energy from a stored lightning strike... through the use of electrically controlled superconductive field-effect transistors... it is possible to gradually "step down" the massive amounts of energy stored in the superconductive coil and use it by conventional storage and distribution systems and applications. The initial use of a specialized superconductive field-effect transistor would be to allow lightning energy to flow into the superconductive coil... to "capture it"...and then through the use of the superconductive field-effect transistor... "close the lid on the bottle"... so that the lightning electrical energy would remain in the coil and not continue out of the coil and back into the atmosphere or into another conductor.

The second use of the superconductive field-effect transistor would be to use its "Y" characteristics to fractionally divide and then re-direct the stored energy from the lightening strike until ... through the process of being able to divide a massive voltage down to conventional-use scopes and sizes... we can utilize the stored energy using conventional distribution networks. Since what we are concerned with in this experiment is just ONE FOCUS... to tap a renewable energy source... once that energy has been safely captured and stored... our concerns with the gradual losses associated with that "free" electrical source should not be a major concern... so we should not be concerned that through the entire system described... we will eventually be losing all of the energy we have captured and stored... but rather that the enegry was produced almost without cost... and without consuming any non-renewable energy source to provide the power. Instead of focusing research upon the distribution system... the focus should be upon converting electrical energy from lightning into usable and compatable power which can then be disseminated through existing distribution systems to the end users.

From a bolt of lightning in the air... channeled to a superconductive storage coil by a plasma laser beam... tapped off through superconductive field-effect transistors... to electrical generators... capacitors and batteries... to our conventional electrical distribution system... and finally to our businesses and homes... this system would greatly reduce pollution... help to reverse global warming... end mankind's dependence upon fossil fuel... and allow the resources of the planet to be preserved. May we all live to see it!
By marchse
#21077
It is not a easy task to store the lighting, as it is of very high voltage and have a very sharp intensity.. So if it has to be stored then the component used should be a compatible one.
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