Since long before mankind first appeared on the Earth there was a force booming and lighting up the sky with tremendous power, exploding in the atmosphere and killing animals with its mysterious electrical arcs. But lightning may no longer simply be a romantic and terrifying force of nature, according to scientists reporting to the 240th American Chemical Society Meeting. It may be the solution to some of our greatest challenges.
Alternative forms of energy have been surprisingly difficult to come up with, considering how simple the generation process actually is. So deceptively simple is it, that scientists are still pulling their hair out over the difficult process. Power generation is as simple as turning a wheel, or the turning of kinetic energy into electrical through magnets. But since the generation of photovoltaic cells (solar power,) which turns sunlight into power, scientists have been reexamining this potential and come to an incredible conclusion. Power is all around us. So much, in fact, that it crackles and overloads into great sparks across the Earth that burn hotter than the surface of the sun.
Fernando Galembeck, Ph.D has been researching lightning and the process that allows such an incredible energy buildup. And he has an idea for how this electrical energy could be harnessed to not only power cities, but also prevent the deaths associated with lightning strikes in their vicinity. The energy potential is very much in the same vein as the vision master inventor Nikola Tesla had in mind.
Scientists have finally discovered a key element of energy transferal in the atmosphere. Contrary to once held popular opinion, water particles in the air can pick up the electrical charge of dust in the air as they float into the air high above the ground. This water, held aloft in the form of humidity has “hygroelectric” potential. Now that the process is better understood, how long until a machine is able to collect this power and transmit it to millions of people worldwide to solve the growing need for energy. It is estimated that such a process could supplement or even replace traditional means of electrical generation? Dr. Galembeck admits that there is quite a bit of research left to be done before the process can become a worldwide power application, but assures us that the potential is indeed there. Though the science is still in its infancy, the idea of taking the electrical charge from the atmosphere and converting it into electricity could benefit millions, and in the end perhaps even billions of people worldwide.
Since the power is already electrical in nature the collection process would be far more efficient than converting heat (generated through coal or gasoline) into power through the use of kinetic force. Additionally, no harmful carbon emissions would then be spewed into the atmosphere. And there would be no fear of a nuclear incident such as those seen by Chernobyl or Three Mile Island near populated areas. In the end, hygroelectric power may be just the electrical miracle millions in the green energy movement have been hoping for.