Public: Engineering
Giant Lightening Grabber   (+1, -4)  [vote for, against]
Collects energy from lightening for power grid

Here is a great idea if a bit bonkers. Lightening is one of the most powerful sources of free energy on the planet. But, it is so powerful it is impractical to harness. So, I suggest a collection grid as follows. In an area that is known for frequent thunder storms we select a plot about a mile square, which is dozed flat. A layer of styrofoam insulation is laid out that has an aluminum surface on the side up. Then another layer and another layer of the thin foam backed with aluminum foil. The foam is impregnated with a special electrolyte material. After say ten or twenty layers are laid out over the square mile, leads are connected to the layers....alternating layers are positive and negative layers (We will have built a monstrous electrcial capacitor that stores huge quanities of electricity)...the (+) leads come out to gigantic lightening rods...towers that collect the lightening during storms...the other leads (-) are attached to the power grid. Power is taken from the capacitor as needed...and our capacitor is recharged by the occassional storms that pass overhead. Of course...I have not worked out all the details for an apparatus this size....but, it works in smaller models.
-- Blisterbob, Sep 13 2005

Lightning power plant Lightning_20Power_20Plant
[bungston, Sep 13 2005]

Harnessing Lightning Harnessing_20Lightning
[bungston, Sep 13 2005]

Harnessing Lightening http://www.atotalwa...pregnancyterms.html
We could just be reading this very wrong and it isn't a typo. [hidden truths, Sep 20 2005]

I would like this idea if I wasn't almost certain that it wouldn't work. However, what really persuaded me against it was that you spelled "Lightning" wrong. And since this whole idea is based on the subject of lightning, it doesn't help your case much.
-- quaero curvus, Sep 13 2005

i think i know who will be recieving the nobel prize in science this year. you sir. you.
-- schmendrick, Sep 13 2005

Other than the extreme difficulty of building it and the problem of knowing where the lightning will be, it sounds crazy enough to be worth a shot. There are, of course, probobly another hundred reasons why it might not work, but these are just technical difficulties which someone else can solve.
-- BritUSA, Sep 13 2005

[BB] - I have linked some existing and excellent discussions of harnessing lightning here on the HB, for your reading pleasure.

I think that in this system, the accumulation of charge on the ground that "draws" the lightning strike will be so muted by this enormous insulating layer that you will get no lightning.
-- bungston, Sep 13 2005

At least one of the previous posts had an excellent link explaining why the power of a lightning strike is entirely too small to make a significant difference to the power grid (as evidenced by one Australian site that was actually collecting lightning this way).
-- DrCurry, Sep 20 2005

random, halfbakery