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Possible Duplicate:
Can the lightning be captured and used as power source?

Each lightning contains several kilo volts of electricity.
Saving them could be a boon to soaring need of it.
Is there a way?

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3 Answers 3

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Rather than attempting to capture the energy of lightning, think about capturing the energy of the separated charge before lighting discharges the stored energy.

Find a way to convert the electrical energy of naturally separated charge in the atmosphere into useful work... Galt's motor if you will allow.

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Tesla investigated the possibility of using the potential built up in the atmosphere. It's not clear how far he got with this. In principle it's possible, but in practice it doesn't seem likely anyone could make it economically viable.

You would need to build a large capacitor with one side grounded and the other positioned up in the clouds where atmospheric electricity can change it. Assuming you could manage this you can certainly generate power by discharging the capacitor. However the engineering challenges are, shall we say, formidable!

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Unfortunately lightning doesn't hit predicatably so it's hard to know where to install something to capture the energy.

Even if you did know where it was going to strike it's hard to build a system to store a large amount of energy (a few billion Joules) arriving in a very short time - ie handle very high power levels.

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