Can we harness the energy of lightning?

(ORDO NEWS) — The idea of ​​using electrical energy generated by earth thunderstorms sounds very tempting, since the average charge of lightning is about five billion joules of energy. However, capturing and using such energy presents at least three distinct problems.

The first problem

Unfortunately, humanity cannot predict where lightning will strike next time. On Earth, about 43,000 thunderstorms occur every day (about 100 flashes per second), but they behave very erratically and unpredictably, so it is rather difficult to guess their appearance. Moreover, only a tiny fraction of lightning reaches the earth’s surface.

Second problem

An object hit by lightning can heat up to more than 20,000 degrees Celsius, and the potential difference created can be about 100 billion volts. It is difficult to imagine electrical equipment that would be able to function under such extreme conditions. So the transformation of lightning energy into a form suitable for use is still an unsolvable task.

Can we harness the energy of lightning 2

The third problem

The amount of energy received from lightning will most likely not justify the effort. For example, five billion joules on an average charge is about 1400 kWh, which is enough to power a small private home for about four months. However, in reality, most of the lightning energy will be dissipated in the atmosphere in the form of heat, so that much less energy will remain for powering the house.

In the early 2000s, the American company Alternate Energy Holdings, Inc tried to “tame” lightning, but gave up in 2007, admitting that they “failed to make what looked quite simple in theory.”


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