# Electricity from lightning

I don't know whether it is possible or not
why dont we can generate electricity from lightning ?
we can get mega volts of electricity from a single lightning
ya its a risky one
by using an lightning conductor we can conduct the electricity from lightning to earth
before touching the earth by using a hard metal resist the power and then store the energy to a source
i dont know which metal is used to resist the lightning may be it is a combination of some metals

i think it is theoretically possible

## Replies

Thread Moved to Electrical and Electronics Section.
• narayana murthy
no way its too hard and impossible as i know that all about 1000kv we have no such equipments to store such a large amount of energy know about the charecterstics of a lightning wave so that you can know why i am saying like this
• Ramani Aswath
I am skeptical about the viability of tapping lightnings. However, if it were possible to tap the charge before it becomes a lightning, one may have something going.

Here are some (conflicting) views:

• parth 127
but how can the charge from the cloud can be tapped
• Ramani Aswath
parth 127
but how can the charge from the cloud can be tapped
Atmospheric Electricity
SEFE, Inc. (SEFE) Makes Harvesting of Atmospheric Electricity a Reality | Seeking Alpha
• narayana murthy
@bioramani: sir,
i got a doubt here lightning is a natural phenomenon it is occured due to change in potential i mean potential difference
but what we do if we tap the charge
• Ramani Aswath
@NM, What happens is that when there are small water drops in the atmosphere they can pick up charge from the surrounding air. However, the drops coalesce and become bigger. For a given mass of water the surface area is proportional to 1/D (D = Dia of the drops). The implication is that the total area of water decreases when there are large drops. This means that charge density increases since charge is only on the surface. This means that the voltage goes up. Beyond a point the voltage is high enough to cause a lightning.

If we can collect the charge and store it before this point is reached, we may gain some power. As I mentioned earlier, I have some reservations about the economic feasibility of this. However, many seem to be working on this. Who knows? It may happen. I understand that Wright brothers' father was a vehement critic about a heavier than air flying machine. This was when the brothers were infants, who later proved their father wrong!
• narayana murthy
then here my point is where is exact material to save such a large amount of energy
even we are unable to store a little energy coming from sun for large time how can we store such an high amount of energy
• Ramani Aswath
narayana murthy
then here my point is where is exact material to save such a large amount of energy
even we are unable to store a little energy coming from sun for large time how can we store such an high amount of energy
There is no viable technology at present for harvesting static electricity from the atmosphere in sizable quantity.
• narayana murthy
actually as in my subjects i have known that lightning occurs due to the cloud and ground potentials
the breakdown voltage at STP of air is 30kv/cm but due to moisture and the conductor type materials in air makes it to 10kv/cm
so it was made quick for lightning discharge once it reaches the 0 potential all the charges discharge in the area of cloud in continous and it occurs in some micro sec's
here i am coming to point to that even though we capture those charges we can't break the air so easily because it is high when compared to high altitudes
and in referring to static energy can't we excite the charges by giving some excitation to a charge and it leads the others
and i have another point too when it is only static energy we are talking what the necessary of taking from clouds we have static field and static electricity at every where can't we use it
• Ramani Aswath
There is no mistake. What we should be clear about is that static electricity is a misnomer. What we have are charges. I f the charge moves, then it is called a current. After all in a capacitor that is what we have. Charges separated by the dielectric. If you put a resistance in series then you get an exponential decay current. The classic time constant being RC. The only thing about a lightning is the very large voltages and large charges. Since the discharge takes place in miiliseconds the current is very large. If you have a large resistance in series you will not see the spectacular display.

All harvesting technologies aim at using a conductor carried in a tethered balloon or some such mechanism to conduct the charge down for storage in a large capacitor or some such. One idea is to electrolyse alkaline watrer and store the hydrogen gas.
• narayana murthy
bioramani
There is no mistake. What we should be clear about is that static electricity is a misnomer. What we have are charges. I f the charge moves, then it is called a current. After all in a capacitor that is what we have. Charges separated by the dielectric. If you put a resistance in series then you get an exponential decay current. The classic time constant being RC. The only thing about a lightning is the very large voltages and large charges. Since the discharge takes place in miiliseconds the current is very large. If you have a large resistance in series you will not see the spectacular display.

All harvesting technologies aim at using a conductor carried in a tethered balloon or some such mechanism to conduct the charge down for storage in a large capacitor or some such. One idea is to electrolyse alkaline watrer and store the hydrogen gas.
so that makes the sense
i have an idea then if we construct a large resistance which resistance is less than breakdown voltage of air then all the charges comes through that resistance so we can make the use of that power for atleast for some milli sec of time
and also we can save many people effecting from this lightning because current always choose a low resistance to go
so this makes all the lightnings occur at that place
is this advantageous even it has a large level of cost
• Mr.Don
but still it is very difficult to capture because we must be very accurate where the lightning stroke will occur and our earth will give a reverse stroke after it receives a lighting stoke within a matter of milliseconds. So what ever you need to do had to be done before the lightning reaches the earth.

P.S: Pardon me if I'm wrong.
• Ramani Aswath
Mr.Don
but still it is very difficult to capture because we must be very accurate where the lightning stroke will occur and our earth will give a reverse stroke after it receives a lighting stoke within a matter of milliseconds. So what ever you need to do had to be done before the lightning reaches the earth. P.S: Pardon me if I'm wrong.
I think that the problem arises if we look at lightnings at the time they strike. This is a dielectric break down situation. The charge in the atmosphere always exists. The water droplets in a cloud or the suspended particulate matter only help to accumulate it. What we should aim for is a continuous collection of this charge to a suitable storage system so that the breakdown condition for a lightning does not happen at all.

If you see my post earlier in the thread, I had mentioned that the less spectacular silent discharges in which there is only a distributed glow and not the sound and fury of a forked streak, produce more nitrogen fertilizer than all the fertilizer plants in the world. This comes down with the rain and nourishes the soil. So all is not lost.

'God moves in a mysterious way His wonders to perform'. - William Cowper (1731-1800)

• narayana murthy
actually what happens first a wave reaches the ground with low power and low time i.e.., at micro seconds
next dark leader comes and reaches ground with more power here it returns back due to deflection
so there is intake and deflection from the ground
@bioramani: sir,
here sounds appear because of discharges of charges between clouds happens that is called partial lighting i think you have listen about it earlier
• narayana murthy

in this image we can see the cloud to cloud lightning discharge which gives enormous amount of sounds and lighting
the effect of this discharge is partial discharge
the object which is on the ground partially effected by this type of lightning around 1/2 amount of lightning effect the object between the clouds even the people who effected by this phenomenon has a chance of surviving
as i know lightning always chooses lowest area path was not effect in this phenomenon correct me if i am wrong anywhere
• Ramani Aswath
The point is that we should not allow the voltages to reach a high enough value to cause a lightning. Atmospheric charge generally increases with altitude. Any harvesting mechanism should deplete this continuously and store. When a lightning flash strikes either between clouds or between cloud and ground very high temperatures are produced along the spark track. The air in this zones expands and moves away leaving a vacuum. After the flash the surrounding air rushes inward from all around producing the clap of thunder.
• Guneet Khanuja
it would be difficult to tap the charge
• narayana murthy
bioramani
The point is that we should not allow the voltages to reach a high enough value to cause a lightning. Atmospheric charge generally increases with altitude. Any harvesting mechanism should deplete this continuously and store. When a lightning flash strikes either between clouds or between cloud and ground very high temperatures are produced along the spark track. The air in this zones expands and moves away leaving a vacuum. After the flash the surrounding air rushes inward from all around producing the clap of thunder.
but as per my knowledge temparature does nothing except burning only current reaches heart and cause for the death
and i never noticed that lightning never happens on seas due to low altitude so heights also makes something
• Ramani Aswath
narayana murthy
i never noticed that lightning never happens on seas due to low altitude so heights also makes something
Lightning strikes are quite common on the seas.

• vishnu potty
thnk u sir
i hv a dbt that ..is there any material to reduce the lightning........
then we can easily store
• narayana murthy
bioramani
Lightning strikes are quite common on the seas.

but actually we know that lightning strikes in the tall object but seas are at low area then what the principle behind this
• Ramani Aswath
Lightning strikes through the path of least resistance. In the open seas, if the nearest object to a supercharged cloud is the sea surface the lightning will strike the water. If there is a ship in the area then it will strike the highest point of the ship.

This may be relevant:
• Ramani Aswath
vishnu potty
thnk u sir
i hv a dbt that ..is there any material to reduce the lightning........
then we can easily store
Static electricity is a misnomer. It is just electric charge. If the charge moves along a conductor it is current. So any wire ttethered to a balloon can bring the chrge down to the storage device. Unfortunately so far there seems to be no satisfactory capacitance for this.
• narayana murthy
bioramani
Lightning strikes through the path of least resistance. In the open seas, if the nearest object to a supercharged cloud is the sea surface the lightning will strike the water. If there is a ship in the area then it will strike the highest point of the ship.

This may be relevant:
oh that may be fact
sir i have another doubt about impulse voltages
as i listened that impulse voltage gives sparks some times and dont give some times so we are having 100% flash over and 50% flash over testing techniques is it really true
• Ramani Aswath
narayana murthy
as i listened that impulse voltage gives sparks some times and dont give some times so we are having 100% flash over and 50% flash over testing techniques is it really true
Thanks for that info. I was not aware of such tests.
The problem is that there could be different models for the breakdown in a spark or lightning. If the spark travels the shortest path it should always be a straight line. An actual lightning is magnificent display of jagged, forked discharge. However, it is always true that it is the path with least resistance. Charged particles or plasma can modify the path of break down. A total absence of contaminants may also prevent a spark.

I am guessing that this may be why what you said above happens.
These two papers may give some more info if you are interested.

• narayana murthy
bioramani
Thanks for that info. I was not aware of such tests.
The problem is that there could be different models for the breakdown in a spark or lightning. If the spark travels the shortest path it should always be a straight line. An actual lightning is magnificent display of jagged, forked discharge. However, it is always true that it is the path with least resistance. Charged particles or plasma can modify the path of break down. A total absence of contaminants may also prevent a spark.

I am guessing that this may be why what you said above happens.
These two papers may give some more info if you are interested.

may be both but my faculty said that there is some changes on nature of wave some times it occurs on same conditions
but i can't able to believe it because if we give same wave repeatedly it should create spark but there is no meaning of changing with time
so i am so confused about it

You are reading an archived discussion.

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