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Asaf Pe'er

Physics for all



Can lightening strikes be used as energy source? (if a conductor is connected to a generator on something like that)

The idea is not new. While the answer is in principle yes, at least so far it is far from being practical.

Since the late 1980s, there have been several attempts to investigate the possibility of "harvesting lightning energy". While a single bolt of lightning carries a relatively large amount of energy (approximately 5 billion joules, or about the energy stored in 145 litres of petrol), this energy is concentrated in a small location and is passed during an extremely short period of time (microseconds); therefore, extremely high electrical power is involved.

While several schemes have been proposed of ways of capturing the high electric power, the ever-changing energy involved in each lightning bolt renders lightning power harvesting from ground based rods impractical - too high, it will damage the storage, too low and it may not work. Furthermore, lightning strikes at random places, makes it nearly impossible to predict the best location for such a hypothetical harvesting facility.

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