Could a lightning bolt be harnessed to perform electrolysis, would a useful amount of hydrogen be produced?

I'm imagining some industrial scale device in the ocean with some hydrogen capture mechanism.

  1. Ignoring fact that lightning is unpredictable (though on a large flat surface eg ocean should be able to direct lightning somewhat)

  2. Yes lightning is destructive but obviously many things are hit everyday without being utterly vaporised.

Yes hydrogen is explosive but could the 'device' not be placed at some depth in the ocean where either the heat of the lightning does not ignite the hydrogen, or the hydrogen is separated from the oxygen produced by the reaction/and surface air (can hydrogen burn in water?)


Harnessing Lightning via Electrolysis and a New Patent System http://www.spiraltruth.com/2009/02/harnessing-lightning-via-electrolysis-and-a-new-patent-system/

"if you think of electrode 1 as the ligthning and electrode 2 as the ground then seemingly it would happen.

however lightning bolts last for a few milli-seconds so the amount produced (if at all) would be very insignificant and possibly even non-measureable. "http://www.scienceforums.net/topic/6375-during-a-lightning-can-the-water-react-forming-hydrogen-and-oxygen/

"Why is it not possible to store engery from lightning, and use this engery later." http://van.physics.illinois.edu/qa/listing.php?id=2742

1.yes 2.no

  • $\begingroup$ thanks, first link indirectly lead me to whynot.net/ideas/1209 where the discussion raises similar idea. However, non of the comments state with any detail why it would or wouldn't be feasable). $\endgroup$ – user17407 Jan 3 '13 at 5:46

With some further googling I think the following answers my question the most, in that apparently there is not a worthwhile amount of energy in a lightning bolt to try and harness it:



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