Hello Gnees Army,
On a Heavy Rainy Day, most of us see the lightning. But do we ever think, can we store that huge electricity from lightning for our daily use? Is it really possible to do it? If it, How can we do it?
Today let’s know about it. Here we go…
Lightning is an electric current that may happen between clouds or clouds to the ground. Lightning bolts carry about 10,000 to 3,50,000 Volts at anywhere between 5,000 to 50,000 Amperes lasts for just a second.
If we assume an average of 50,000 volts at 10,000 amps from lightning, it roughly produces 140 kWh electric. But is it enough for us?
Let’s do a comparison, if we can take the power consumption in an average Urban home, it takes electricity about 200 kWh per month. From this example, we can say that there is enough energy in one lightning bolt to power an average home for about twenty days.
How does Lightning bolts occur?
Lightning occurs because of the difference in the Electrical Potential of the sky (clouds) and the ground. The difference of this huge potential can ionize the air and it creates a path to equalize that huge potential difference between the earth and the sky.
Trying to control that power at that moment would be equivalent to trying to control atomic energy at the moment a bomb explodes.
A more reasonable approach is to control the electrical potential before lightning can strike. Not only would this be safer and easier, but it would reduce the damage caused by lightning strikes.
Then What’s the problem with it?
Most places receive lightning very infrequently but we have a steady demand for electrical energy. The smaller the area you look at the fewer the lightning strikes will hit within that area per unit time.
Let’s assume we build some kind of device that is big enough to get hit by enough lightning strikes to supply the desired energy. But If the lightning hit once every ten years or so, you have to wait a long time for a return on your investment. Will you wait until then? Your answer may be big “No”. Besides, Does it make any sense?
Suppose you agreed to the previous answer Yes! Now next…
Lightning has a high voltage but not a huge amount of current. 240 Volts is what consumers can use the highest voltage instrument at home, and they want a steady supply of it. Voltage and phase should not flow over time. Lightning can give you Tens of thousands of volts over a few milliseconds and then be gone for the rest of the day.
So, is there any device at our home that runs on the 10,000 volts? Most of them run over only at 240 Volts! So, think twice about that huge voltage. The problem is that the energy is deposited all at once, instead of spreading out over time.
And to inform you that, much of the energy of the lightning discharge goes into heating up the air and making the glow.
Let’s suppose you fulfill all criteria above. Now the question is,
Will this energy be enough for us?
Each lightning strike has on average 5 Billion Joules. That seems like a lot, you may think! Well, that is equivalent to only around 1,400 kWh of energy if we assume zero loss in transfer and storage (zero loss is impossible but let’s suppose). This energy used by our on average monthly lives! Check the energy again how much it was! Only 1,400 kWh.
Lightning strikes over a year are around 1.4 billion, and of those, only about 25% are actually ground strikes since most (75%) are intra-cloud, cloud-cloud, and outward towards the upper/outer atmosphere and cannot be harnessed. Lightning leaves only 350 million lightning strikes that could possibly be harnessed. Also, again assuming an impossible 100% harnessing of all lightning strikes, (no loss in the capture, transfer, and storage) that is 490,000,000,000 kWh/Year.
In 2009, the world used around 20,279,640,000,000 kWh. Over 40 times the electrical energy that all the (impossible) best case hypothetically harness-able land strikes contain.
So basically, all the lightning we can approximately capture in a year will give the world enough electricity for only 9 days! And that is an unreasonably high over-estimation of all the power available through lightning on this planet because we cannot capture or harness 100%!
Nothing! Till there is no advanced technology from us, we could not capture the lightning. If we do that, it will be not profitable! Sorry 🙁
Thanks for reading!