Harvesting Energy From Lightning?

Most recent answer: 04/15/2014

Can we harvest lightning, on a flying balloon, which is high in sky near the clouds using cloud-cloud lightning discharges
- prithu (age 21)
guna,madhya pradesh,India

Dear Prithu,

In principle yes, in practice no.  Since there is a lot of energy available in a lightning strike it  would seem reasonable to harvest it.  Unfortunately there are are a lot of technical problems.   The strikes are sporadic and of extremely high voltage so you need some sort of storage mechanism that would smooth out the lumps.  In many areas there is a rainy season with lots of lightning and then extended dry seasons when there is none.  There is a transmission problem of getting the energy to the ground where it would be used.  A mile high wire of sufficient current carrying capacity seems impractical.   These and other problems are very difficult to solve.  I do not see a viable solution with our current technologies.  In the future, who knows?



(published on 04/15/2014)