Could Lightning Power Generators?

Is it possible to harvest lightning as a power source? An Illinois inventor thinks so.

Steve LeRoy has apparently created a system that captures lightning's energy and stores it for later use. Well, actually he has created a small scale model with a lightning generator powerful enough to send out a three-foot bolt capable of powering a sixty watt bulb for twenty minutes.

Real thunderstorms carry enough power to supply all the needs of the US for twenty minutes.

Of course, the whole trick to harvesting the power of lightning is knowing exactly when and where a lightning bolt will strike. SF fans (and, I suppose, the rest of the television-watching world) know that the movie Back to the Future uses the power of lightning to send a DeLorean time-traveling car equipped with a flux-capacitor forward in time.


(Lightning strikes the courthouse)

I'm hoping a reader can help me remember a reference that I saw somewhere on TV. A researcher (I believe in Florida) was testing different power line solutions to lightning strikes. As you can imagine, tall metal power poles and towers are frequently struck. This guy brought down the lightning by shooting a metal spear attached to a grounded chain directly into the thundercloud. The video footage is incredible; the lightning discharge follows the straight chain and looks like a six-inch wide beam of pure energy.

Via Sci Fi Tech.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 10/16/2007)

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