Exploring the possibilities of LIGHTNING as an energy source?

3년 전

FACT!!!

Do you know lightning is 5times hotter than the sun surface? I never knew as well not until I made a research on it. Its around 30000kelvin compared to 6000kelvin for the sun. I guess this topic will be very interesting to trash out.

Hello everyone!
It is always an interesting avenue to write in this lovely platform/forum. I hope you guys didn’t see the rain? (lol)! It is a very cold morning down here. The rain poured heavily last night, even as a man I was scared to some point when the breeze was blowing heavily, the thunder roaring and the lightning flashing one would thought the trumpet is about to sound. May be I should call it astraphobia here or tonitrophobia as the case might be at that particular time.
Then I wondered, what must be the cause of this lightning? Why are thunder and lightning friends because the former seems to accompanying the latter when it shows up? All these questions kept creeping in my mind. But the biggest of them came, could lightning be another solution to electricity? Are you wondering as well? (Laughs)!

These are the things you will tend to find in this interesting post. There won’t be so many grammars in this post so as to easily understand its concept and I will make sure it is simple enough for everyone to understand. Permit me to focus more on lightning as we have a vast knowledge about solar source of energy.
So sit tight, enjoy reading and learning.

INTRODUCTION

A layman understanding of lightning

Generally, at a point in a lifetime one will definitely experience the occurrence of a lightning. To someone who is a novice in science or geology will say lightning occurs when there is heavy rain pouring down from the sky. That’s to their understanding but is it only when rain pours we have lightning? Let’s see what science has to say about lightning.

Before looking at science view, allow let me chip in tales about lightning and thunder to make things interesting and spiced up.

Long time ago, Thunder and Lightning apparently lived on earth among humans and animals. Lightning was the only son of thunder. He was a rude and highly temperamental being, his temper and anger was very disgusting and unbearable as he burns down trees in the forest which spread across the villages that burns down huts, food storing tanks and bamboo and raffia built houses. This attitude got his mother Thunder always yelling and roaring at him trying to scold him for his uncultured behavior but lightning frequently prove stubborn and heart hardened. As his behavior skyrocket and grew worse beyond normal to the people in the village, he was therefore reported to the king. When the king has heard different perspectives of lightning crimes, he then ordered lightning and thunder to leave the village premises for a y faraway forest for the benefit and safety of his people so that their hut and food storing houses can be free from lightning's torture.
Not disobeying the king, both lightning and thunder left for the forest but his anger and his mother scolding roar still affects the people in the village which perhaps was outrageous to bear. As matters became more unbearable, the king drove both of them to the sky permanently but it still does not stop the people from hearing the thunder's baritone scolding voice on lightning's wild angers. I hope you enjoyed the tale? (laughs)!

Back to business

Science view

Lightning is the term used to describe the flashes of light that are produced in the sky during a storm. It can also be the flashing of light produced by a discharge of atmospheric electricity. For a lightning to be produced, research shows there are three kinds of lightning formation; there is what we call intra-cloud lightning (IC). Intra cloud lightning simply means there is a discharge that occurs within the cloud region which are normally electrically charged. It can also be called Sheet-lightning because it appears in form of a sheet in the cloud when its flash shows up. Lightning is produced between two clouds (CC) i.e. cloud-cloud as well, I will refer to this as inter- cloud lightning. It is also produced between the cloud and the ground (CG) i.e. cloud-ground. So IC, CC and CG are the kinds of lightning that have been seen and studied. Lightning is mostly accompanied by a flash. This flash is produced when there is equalization in the charge region between clouds during discharge.

The first scientific study of lightning

I knew there were studies on moon, sun, stars even rain but I never knew or thought of a lightning study. Have you?

447px-Benjamin_West,_English_(born_America)_-_Benjamin_Franklin_Drawing_Electricity_from_the_Sky_-_Google_Art_Project.jpg

wikimedia creative commons 3.0: Benjamin Franklin drawing electricity from the sky(authority control by Worldcat)

The study of lightning is called FULMINOLOGY while the people who studies lightning are referred to as a FULMINOLOGIST. The first real fulminologist was Franklin Benjamin, in 1746 to be precise Franklin failed while studying lightning and he was shocked in the process of this experiment. 226 years ago a successful attempt was made by proving lightning is a form of electricity when he used a flying kite to trap lightning in a jar. Let’s not digress into his study and experiment as there will be room for more explanation on his research some other time.

The link between lightning and electricity

Lightning formation is like a cycle.


[image created by me @adeosunadeyinka]

As the cloud gets bigger which forms a thundercloud through this continuous cycle, small bins of ice is formed from one of the cycle process (water vapor) because the temperature would have become extremely low due to the continuous cycle process. These ices that are formed discord with one another to bring about electrical charges which fills up the cloud. With this charge formed, the lighter charged particles represent the positive while the heavier ones are termed to be negatively charge. When this process is cycling continuously, the charges (positive and negative) become abundant which brings about a heavy spark-lightning.

HOW THE SUN KNOCKED OUT LIGHTNING WITH A HEAVY PUNCH

Without taking any form of losses into consideration, researches shows that 100lightning/sec are produced at any period a lightning strikes. Solving this math for a day we will have 864000lightning produce within a day. But we all know lightning cannot be permanent for a minute as compared to the sun that can stay for almost half a day. Still on this assumption, 8640000lightning/day within a year will sum up to a whooping figure of 3153600000 lightning/year. This figure contains 25% of C-G lightning which can be utilized and the remaining 75% is sandwiched between IC and CC form of lightning which cannot be utilized because it cannot be easily predicted. 25% of 3153600000lightning/year which can be utilized is approximately 7.89x10^8 lightning/yr.

By conversion

If this is converted to energy with the assumption of no loss in energy transfer, we will have approximately 1.104x10^12 Kwh/year.

The interesting part

Nine years ago, statistics shows over 20 trillion kilowatts of electrical energy was used by the world in a year that is 20times that of a lightning in a year which results to 20 days of constant electricity out of a whole year for all available lightning that are trapped and utilized. The craziest thing is one hour of constant sunlight is equivalent to the 20 trillion kilowatts of electrical energy used in year only if all roofs can be solar panel.

COST IMPLEMENTATION

it does not only boils down to the ineffective and inefficient the lightning could be in terms of energy produced in a year; it cost, installation and also maintenance is also beyond normal as it would incur more than the money the world has.

Damages lightning could cause

It is not only that humans or animals can be electrocuted in the process of heavy lightning but also a massive hazard could spring up when a building is not properly earthed.

Most lightning strikes on human body does not result in death but injuries; in which the effect of the injury on the body is like a fine web tattoo formed on the external part of the body. No wonder scientists/ engineers came up with the idea of a lightning arrester whose job is to protect our transmission lines and electrical distribution appliances against lightning hazards of any form.

Good side of lightning

Although, it dark sides may overshadow the good side but we will not shy away from it little and important benefits. Lightning is known to protect our daring planet from wicked sun-rays (ultraviolet) because of its excess ozone gas it emits. It is also very useful to plants in breaking down nitrogen that plants cannot utilize which can be used as fertilizers.

WRAP UP

As far we now know that lightning is far hotter than the sun but the fact remains we depending more on solar source of energy than that of lightning because the sun is well predictable, more abundant and more energy effective and efficient in terms of its constant supply. But as long as science and technology exist I see a possible way lightning will contribute to our source of energy though it might not be as vast as our solar source of energy.
Thank you for taking your precious time reading and learning from this post. I am indeed glad. See you next time.

REFERENCE

If you write STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) related posts, consider joining #steemSTEM on steemit chat or discord here. If you are from Nigeria, you may want to include the #stemng tag in your post. You can visit this blog by @stemng for more details.

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Wow... nice piece. 👏👏👏. But I think the 6,0000C is just for the surrounding of the sun and not the sun itself (I stand to be corrected). If lightenings were trapable, we could really have some ground breaking developments as regards renewable energy

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what else can i say.. I am glad with those kind words. But bro research shows the sun temperature is about 5500 - 6000 degree Celsius. And it also says its not the hottest substance. Maybe research has not been made to investigate its pure hotness. which scientist will like to try that? (lolz) But i am glad you stopped by..

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I have just made a proper and extreme research. You might be right sir. It is indeed hotter than its surrounding not its core. Because as one moves deeper into the core it becomes hotter

Your post has been personally reviewed and was considered to be a well written article.
You received a 10.0% upvote since you are not yet a member of geopolis and wrote in the category of "geology".

To read more about us and what we do, click here.
https://steemit.com/geopolis/@geopolis/geopolis-the-community-for-global-sciences-update-4

Interesting area to discuss. The world today is consistently of search if better methods to generate electricity. You really did some great analysis in this article, but unfortunately the light seems unlikely usable (that's as far as we know for now though).

Great Job once again.

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Yes for now. Thanks for the warm comment bro

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Anytime man.

It would be really interesting to get light from the lighting. But do you think it can be regulated?

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Of course it would have been a support to our other forms of energy source which would have been eco-friendly. a Lightning comes at an interval we don't know. To cut the story short i don't think we can at least for now
I am really glad to have you here

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Hmm... I would be looking forward to having such technology soon. Its better we have great alternative to fossil fuels.

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Indeed it is better.. Thanks sire

I always like a post about new energy sources, too bad we can't harness the power of the lighting.

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Little of it can be harness. But it can't be sufficient for the real purpose we want it for (as a constant and large source of electricity).
Thanks for taking your time bro

Interesting piece. It will really be a big breakthrough if lightning can be successfully captured for electricity.
I once read about some scientists trying to trigger lightning through certain artificial means but the problem is that it happens so fast within seconds and no one could say exactly where and when it will occur

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Of course bro.. It bad side is that it is unpredictable..it gives no room for it capturing. Thanks for stopping by sir.

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You are certainly welcome

nice article here sir. i particularly enjoyed your story.

did you know that lightening is made of a state of matter called plasma?

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Yes of course.. Electrons are involved sir.
Glad you enjoyed the story. Thanks for your time

I was wowed by information I got from the article. The post is scientifically enlightening. Great one!

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It was my pleasure sir. I am glad it was useful

This would really change the power industry if we could get to harness it..I anticipate it's future implementation as I believe it would be unraveled one day being a possibility..

Thanks for this walkthrough..You've done fabulously well

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Thanks for the kind words bro. I am glad you were here. Good to hear your view on this sir

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Always a pleasure