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Monday, January 18th, 2021
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Home » Energy » Lightening

Lightning is the electric breakdown of air by strong 

electric fields and is a flow of energy. The electric potential energy in the atmosphere changes into heat, light, and sound which are other forms of energy.
Other Important Components of Lightening
Voltage: A typical lightning bolt bridges a potential difference (voltage) of several hundred million volts. A typical lightning bolt may transfer 1020 electrons in a fraction of a second, developing a peak current of up to 1000 kiloamperes.
Current: Most measurements have been in the range 5,000 to 20,000 amps. Currents over 200,000 amps have been reported.

Hot v Cold Lightning:

Most commonly, the lightning current ceases                  in about a millisecond for a given stroke, but sometimes there is a continuing current on the order of 100 amps following one or more of the strokes. This is called "hot lightning" and it is the cause of lightning fires according to Uman. The temperatures of lightning are 8,300-33,000°C for both "cold" and "hot" lightning - it is the continuing current that starts some 10,000 fires per year in the U.S. in the estimation of Uman.

Total power: A moderate thunderstorm generates several hundred megawatts of electrical Power. And

•    One strike has enough energy to light 150,000,000                                                           

light bulbs. (; May 17)

•    The following data is from an Atlanta Journal article
•    About 95 people die from lightning yearly in the U.S.
•    A single thunderstorm can release 470 million litres of water (that's the volume of 16 Washington Monuments).
•    One storm can discharge enough energy to supply the entire U.S. with electricity for 20 minutes
•    A large Midwestern cumulonimbus can tower 20-25 km (Mount Everest is 8.8 km high.)
•     There are approximately 2,000 thunderstorms at any given moment worldwide.
Lightning doesn’t actually generate much power when it hits. Sure, its potential is huge, but since it occurs in such short bursts, the amount of energy we see transferred from a typical bolt is only enough to power a 100 watt light bulb for six months.
The probability of lightning strike to a given point on ground is very low.  Thus the two main problems with the utilization of lightning energy can be formulated as follows:
(1) The power associated with a lightning flash is very high, but it is released in pulses of short duration (of the order of 10-4- 10-5 s). 
(2)  Its occurrences are so random and inconsistent it makes setting up a lightning power station difficult. The capturing of lightning strikes would require the use of a large number of tall towers, which is rather impractical.
Additionally, as noted above, not all the lightning energy is delivered to the strike point.  Using a typical measured value of energy per unit resistance (action integral) for negative lightning of 105 A s2 and an assumed range of effective resistances at the strike point of 10 to 100 Ohm, we estimate a range of the lightning energy delivered to the strike point to be from 106 to 107 J, which is only 10-2-10-3 of the total energy.
 It has been estimated that lightning strikes somewhere on the surface of the Earth about 100 times every second it means there is a huge amount of power flowing to the earth every minute, all of which is going unused. Despite its frequency of occurrence lightning electricity could not yet be transformed into a useful quality.

Harnessing Lightning Power
Harneshing electricity technically does not need to be generated, only transformed into a useful quality."
There are three main problems with harnessing lightning as a source of energy. First, lightning is not consistent. This is not important, since this source of energy would only be used to decrease our dependency from other sources of energy that cause pollution.
Converting lightning into a useful form of energy is the most difficult problem. Lightning is too strong of an electrical current to be easily stored directly into batteries. A lot of workings has been done to construct a capacitor capable of storing the energy in lightning, then allowing that energy to flow gradually into the power grid

Lightning is made of electricity. Lightning is a renewable form of energy. Harnessing lightning would not harm the environment. In fact, harnessing lightning would even be safer for humanity.
There have been suggestions that one might be able to use lightning to generate hydrogen from water in a fairly direct way and then use that hydrogen later, but yet there hasn't really been a lot of serious work done on this.  This way, the electricity of lightning would convert the water into both oxygen and hydrogen gases. This chemical reaction or process is known as electrolysis. Both gases would need to be quickly stored for later use. This storage issue may be the only difficult part of my idea. The hydrogen gas could easily be used as a stable and portable form of energy. Even the oxygen gas could be sold for a profit too. So the lightening can easily be converted into useful  form of energy.
Lightning would never be able to completely replace fossil fuels by itself; however it could be more economical and safer for the environment . There are huge cost factors associated with even researching the power of lightning, but peoples are working on its related issues as it is green energy.

Issue: Why can't we capture lightning and convert it into usable electricity?
We can probably start to see the problem - lightning bolts just don't carry that much energy relative to the rate at which we use it.
There are additional problems. First of all, lightning is sporadic, so one can't count on it being there when one wants it. Energy would have to be collected and stored for use as needed. Unfortunately, it's not easy to convert the very high voltage of lightning to some lower voltage that we know how to deal with easily.
People have also suggested trying to harness the energy caused by heating of water (or other materials) due to lightning, but again, the total energy you get seems too small to bother with.
Using lighting as an energy source would be very impractical because it hardly strikes at the same point, and you can only get a fraction of its total energy.
Add to that the fact that lightning tends to be quite destructive where it hits and that given the relatively small amount of energy per strike one would need huge arrays of lightning collectors, and it seems likely that we'll be taking easier routes to getting energy for quite some time.
There are rockets to help create and direct lighting strikes, but these aren't as energetic as the ones that discharge naturally.