I am currently experimenting with a homemade Van de Graaff generator. The design looks just like in the Wikipedia page here. In many designs of the VDG, I see that the bottom comb is connected to a metal sphere. The Wikipedia page said that it is also connected to the ground.
In the example, the wand with metal sphere (8) is connected to ground, as is the lower comb (7); electrons are drawn up from the ground due to the attraction by the positive sphere ...
If it's connected to ground, which I understand is a virtually limitless reservoir of free charges, why is the metal sphere charged and not neutral?
My intention is to have the VdG generator in one place and use the charge it produces in some other places (not too far) in a distance and I wonder if I can use the metal sphere.