The Ultimate in Power Generation

I’m claiming this one.  Anyone want to help me apply for a patent, or buy the idea?

There is a newish product out called super-capacitors.  I’m thinking that you could arrange many of these devices in series and parallel, with some really high strength electrical connections, transformers, and relays and then get them all hit by lightning.

I figure you’ll need some huge resistors, and bunch of heavy duty transformers and enough capacitors to store several Megawatts of energy.  You’ll lose a bunch to heat and transform circuits.  but lightning is totally free.

And there is a method to ensure that lightning hits the right place.  How?

Rockets

Basically, a model rocket launches pulling a thin copper wire behind it.  Any potential lightning in the area will be attracted to the wire and bang, instant lightning.

The energy travels down the wire into a collection grid, that goes through a series of divisions, spreading the electrons of the lightning out as much as possible and then capturing them.

If that doesn’t work, you could do the same thing except use the lightning to heat up some material (say salt) and use that in a standard heat exchanger to power a turbine.

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3 Responses to The Ultimate in Power Generation

  1. Well, sir, undeniably you think big. And I commend you for that. But showing that you can produce electrical energy in a manner that is safe enough, cheap enough, reliable enough and efficient enough to be worth doing, is a very different thing from merely showing that it is POSSIBLE to collect some energy in a certain way. If they were the same thing, we’d have our fusion plants by now and the discussion would be moot. This is pretty the Cliff Notes version of what I was trying to say in the comment I left on one of your renewable energy posts.

  2. OgreMkV says:

    Yeah well, after a fair bit of research, this won’t work very well. Lots of amps, lots of volts… all concentrated in a few milliseconds. That’s the real kicker. Even with super-capacitors and banks upon banks of transformers, you still can’t get a lot of usable energy in two tenths of a millisecond.

    One figure I saw was about 150 kWhrs worth out of each lightning strike.

    So, yeah, nevermind… sigh.

  3. In perspective, 150kW-hrs would provide enough electricity for about 40 Americans for 1 day.

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