Did you know that a single bolt of lightning contains 5 billion joules of energy, enough to power a household for a month? This means that the destructive energy of a thunderstorm equals that of an atom bomb!
When Benjamin Franklin tied a key to a kite and flew it into a lightning storm, he instantly understood the big power of such events on Earth.
But it is possible to use or generate power from an unexpected source like this?
AEHI CEO Donald Gillispie has explained that it will be not so easy: “Quite frankly, we just couldn’t make it work… The logistical problems involved in making it work are significant. First of all, there’s the basic fact that thunderstorms are sporadic and lighting strikes random; considering that energy demands are steady, dependable energy sources are preferable”.
But it is not just a matter of logistics: it is not easy to capture energy carried by one massive blast in a second, it needs to be converted to an alternating current. Moreover, the energy contained in a lightning bolt disperses as it travels down to Earth, with the consequence of capturing and using just a small portion of its potential.
Thunderclouds contain about 1.3 gigavolts of electricity, and this insane power could undermine humans or nature's integrity.
Lightning’s heat, vaporizing the water inside a tree, and creating steam could blow the tree apart. In fact, in the case of thunderstorms, people are advised to stay away from isolated trees or other objects that are preferred targets.
Many houses are also grounded by rods and other protection that conduct a lightning bolt’s electricity harmlessly to the ground.
These atmospherical phenomena are fascinating, because of their intense power and brightness in the air, but everyone should pay attention, avoiding to be electrified!