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Lightning as a Power Source: Pulling Energy Out of Thin Air

Posted: Monday, September 27th, 2010

What if electricity for your home or business was free, a service provided by mother nature, like air or rainwater? There'd be no need for power lines. Municipal generators would disappear. Best of all, there'd be no electric bills! True, advocates of solar, wave and wind power have been doing this for the last several decades. But, suppose there was another, cheaper way which could work at night, away from the ocean and without wind.

Imagine! Pulling electricity literally out of thin air. We've all seen the power of lightning, flashing across the sky in thunderstorms. Most of us have read the story of Benjamin Franklin, the early American statesman who captured electricity with a metal key by attaching it to the string of kite while it flew in a lightning storm. Now, suppose that someone could invent a panel which capture that same electricity out of the air, not just during the storm, but before and after the storms as well, all the while collecting it as usable electrical power. In fact, this was attempted in the years between 1901 and 1917, by an electrical engineer named Nikola Tesla. He designed the first wireless telecommunications mechanism which was called the Wardenclyffe Project. Also known as the Tesla Tower, the project aimed to make communication across the Atlantic faster.

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