# Thread: Capacitor to store lightning?

1. Originally Posted by MacGyver1968
Yes.. it's the amount of energy in a typical lightning bolt...some will be stronger..some will be weaker...if you average it all out it's around 500MJ. I'm just using your number. It's also the total amount of energy in the bolt, not counting what is lost heating atmosphere on the way down. I'm not sure what you are talking about when you say "capture the peak values".
I'm going to make an analogy here. I'm an active investor in the US stock market. I have software that tells me that a stock will go from its' present \$30/share price up near \$40 before some profit-taking begins which will bring the price back down to \$37. I buy the stock at \$30 and place an order to sell it at \$39. There. I've captured the peak value for a stock rally.

In this case, I have good information about the peak values for the current and voltage of lightning bolts, so I design my circuits so that they don't kick in until the bolt reaches its' peak, even though the whole thing happens in the blink of an eye.

2. Knowing the peak values for lightning voltage and current are essential if you want to avoid overcharging and maybe damaging your caps, not to mention the necessity of replacing hundreds of feet of burned out wires, one wire at a time.

3. So are you trying to say in a 500MJ lightning strike..there is actually more energy than 500MJ?

4. 500 MJ is the average value. At the peak of the lightning bolt, when the voltage is around 300-400MV and the amperage is around 100KA, I expect the Joule rating to be higher than 5e8.

Perhaps an order of magnitude higher, and that value, if the electricity can be captured at that split-second, could change the design requirements for the circuits AND the economics, too.

5. Joules are a measurement of energy over time. I don't think you are understanding that.

6. Originally Posted by BennyF
Billy, Billy, Billy. You've accused me more than once of not reading your posts, and here you are, ignoring several of mine. I never said that I wanted to sell electricity. ...
No twice wrong. This post of yours is evidence that your do not read well in addition to again showing how very ignorant about electrical energy systems you are.

(1) I have accused you at least three times of not REPLYING to post 153, which quickly and simply points out your fundamental misunderstanding of the physics of electrical energy. (Thinking the energy is proportional to the voltage and can be increased by stepping up the voltage.)* Also you still do not understand the difference between power (Watts) and energy (Joules or KWH) and worse, you do not want to learn.
I have no way to know what you read, so I would not say anything about that (except possibly being kind, I may have speculated that the reason you failed to reply might have been that you did not notice post 153. Good manors at sciforums requires you reply to posts directed to you, but others have already pointed that out to you.)

(2) I never said you plan to sell electricity. The closest I have come to that is noting that the manure from donkeys making the same annual energy that you plan to collect from lightning could be sold for at least 100 times more than you COULD sell the energy for.

I understand well that you erroneously DREAM about disconnecting your office building from the grid and using energy from lightning to produce hydrogen. What you do not understand is that for the same costs as the interest on the capital invested in your capacitors etc. you could produce at least 10,000 times more hydrogen if you used grid electric power instead of lightning electric power. Stepping up the voltage, as you plan to 100 billion volts will NOT increase the energy.

------------------
* Here is some** of your stupidity about voltage being energy, about "storing voltage" and increasing it by step up of voltage in your own words:
Originally Posted by BennyF
{Post 36}... My point is still valid. Whatever the voltage {in lightning} is, it can be multiplied a few hundred times, producing a stored voltage amount in the tens of billions of volts. ...
Originally Posted by BennyF
{post40} ... Anybody who can generate hundreds of millions of DC voltage from a single lightning bolt and who can store TENS OF BILLIONS of voltage can certainly spare some of it for a DC-AC inverter and disconnect his whole office from his local electric grid. After that's done, then the lion's share of the remaining TENS OF BILLIONS of DC volts can be used, a few volts at a time, for a hydrogen-generating electrolysis reaction....
Again in a pointless attempt to educate you (pointless as you do not want to learn) ONE DOES NOT "STORE VOLTAGE" - ONE STORES ENERGY.

If you should change your mind and want to learn where your stupidity began, here is link to post 153 again:
http://www.sciforums.com/showpost.ph...&postcount=153

**There is much more stupidity on display in other posts of yours which others have replied to telling you that voltage is not energy,peak power is not energy, peak voltage is not energy, etc.
Your greatest stupidity (and arrogance) however is not wanting to learn from the many posters who have tried to help you.

7. This thread has brought me close to tears of frustration.

Benny, you can't make electricity what you'd like it to be.
It is what it is.

Perhaps it's all a big wind-up.
If it is , please, let us know now.

8. Originally Posted by Billy T
I understand well that you erroneously DREAM about disconnecting your office building from the grid and using energy from lightning to produce hydrogen. What you do not understand is that for the same costs as the interest on the capital invested in your capacitors etc. you could produce at least 10,000 times more hydrogen if you used grid electric power instead of lightning electric power. Stepping up the voltage, as you plan to 100 billion volts will NOT increase the energy.
Billy, you're still confusing my two very separate goals.

1. Getting a US Patent, and

2. Setting up and using a collection of physical electricity collection and storage equipment.

That's number one on my list of complaints about you. I was told a very long time ago by someone I admired (a grandfather) not to put the cart before the horse. In case you're unfamilliar with the saying, horses can't push a cart very well; they have to go in front of them, to pull them. I won't start buying capacitors until sometime after the U.S. Government has decided whether my patent application is worth issuing, and that's that.

Second, whether I'm as knowledgable at physics as you are or not, I do happen to know that a current divider CAN AND WILL multiply voltage. In accordance with Ohm's Law, it does so at the expense of current. If you have DC electricity going though a wire with one capacitor in it, and if that voltage is less than or equal to the voltage rating on the cap, then that cap will store electricity.

If you have two such capacitors in parallel, in the simplest possible form of a current divider, then each of the two capacitors CAN AND WILL be charged up to an equal amount of voltage, even though the current going through each capacitor will be half as much as the current that enters the divider.

That is Ohm's law, and it hasn't changed since it was taught to me 30 years ago. All I'm doing by talking about a hundred billion volts is to scale up this hypothetical current divider, knowing that lightning bolts have so much current, there will still be significant amounts of current even after being broken up into two or three hundred separate current paths.

The amount of the energy, whether measured in Joules or Kw isn't important at this moment. What I'm trying to impress upon you is the FACT that a current divider with a few hundred branches CAN AND WILL reduce lightning current down to a manageable level, and that if each of the hundreds of current paths has a voltage divider, consisting of hundreds of capacitors wired in series, then this voltage divider CAN AND WILL reduce a few hundred million DC volts down to a manageable level, something below the voltage rating on the highest-rated capacitors.

THAT, my dear Billy, is what I will describe IN DETAIL, to the U.S. Patent Office, along with a few other design details that will ensure that lightning can't strike twice onto my capacitors, thus overcharging them.

One more time. Sometime AFTER I receive a patent, I'll do some extensive economic planning to determine the feasibility of collecting and storing DC electricity (using then-current rates, not today's rates) and the economics of selling hydrogen and oxygen from the output of an electrolyzer. All costs, including the prices for hydrogen and oxygen may very well be different by the time I get my patent, which I expect will be two good years from now.

9. Billy, this board is supposed to be about HOW to charge capacitors from lightning, NOT whether this process could ever be economically profitable.

Please keep this in mind the next time you write.

Benny

10. Originally Posted by Captain Kremmen
Benny, you can't make electricity what you'd like it to be.
It is what it is.
This thread has also brought ME to tears of frustration, Captain.

Fact #1. Lightning IS electricity. Mr. Franklin proved that 250 years ago.

Fact #2. Voltage and current can be measured reliably and safely, even the voltage and the current of a lightning bolt.

Fact #3. Lightning's voltage and current HAVE been measured sometime since Mr. Franklin made his discovery, and the amounts are significant.

Fact #4. (Posted mainly for Billy's sake) The US Patent Office doesn't care whether the collection and storage of electricity from lightning is economically feasible. All they care about is whether it is POSSIBLE TO DO SO, given the scientific laws that don't usually change much from one century to the next, with apologies to Mr. Einstein.

Fact #5. I won't buy any equipment until after (I SAID AFTER) the patent office has decided whether I should get a patent or not.

I said AFTER I get a patent !!

11. I've not read the entire thread, just a few of BennyE's last posts, and he mentions a 'capacitor' to store lightning. Given that lightening is looking for a path to Earth, and a capacitor effectively contains an insulator to prevent current passing through it, surely, the lightning would just strike some other conductor, if not the ground itself, instead of leaping into Benny's contraption, for his convenience? Lightning wants to be grounded, it will find the shortest path to ground. I can't for the life of me understand why Benny thinks it's going to leap into his device?

12. Originally Posted by phlogistician
Given that lightening is looking for a path to Earth, and a capacitor effectively contains an insulator to prevent current passing through it, surely, the lightning would just strike some other conductor, if not the ground itself, instead of leaping into Benny's contraption, for his convenience?
Even I, with a less-than-perfect knowledge of physics, can handle this one.

You don't know much about capacitors, do you? Think about this for a moment. If current cannot go through a capacitor, then why are billions and billions of capacitors used in electronic circuits?.

Let us all know when you've finished reading your first book on electric circuits.

13. Originally Posted by BennyF
Even I, with a less-than-perfect knowledge of physics, can handle this one.

You don't know much about capacitors, do you? Think about this for a moment. If current cannot go through a capacitor, then why are billions and billions of capacitors used in electronic circuits?.

Let us all know when you've finished reading your first book on electric circuits.
OK, so you are ignorant of how capacitors work. Enough said. Get off your high horse for a minute, and go look at a diagram of the structure of a capacitor. You'll see two conductive surfaces separated by an insulator.

Pop quiz: Do insulators

1, Block the flow of electrons, or,
2, Conduct electricity.

?????

As to why capacitors are used in many electronic applications, well, I know the answer to that, but I'll tell you after you answer the above.

14. YOU'RE the one that is ignorant of how capacitors work, and you can't change that with an accusation. You said that current can't go through a capacitor and you were wrong.

Insulators usually block current, but when two conductive materials are separated by a very thin insulator, and a DC voltage is applied across both of the conductors, an electric field grows around the insulator, effectively allowing the DC current to keep flowing.

That's why capacitors are used in billions of electric circuits. Get back to chapter one of your electricity textbook.

15. Originally Posted by BennyF
Even I, with a less-than-perfect knowledge of physics, can handle this one.

You don't know much about capacitors, do you? Think about this for a moment. If current cannot go through a capacitor, then why are billions and billions of capacitors used in electronic circuits?.

Let us all know when you've finished reading your first book on electric circuits.
You need to pull the log out of your own eye before trying to pull splinters from others. You are the one who just posted:

I do happen to know that a current divider CAN AND WILL multiply voltage.
Which simply isn't true. Current dividers don't multiply voltage. The voltage stays the same.

You are the one that said:

The amount of the energy, whether measured in Joules or Kw isn't important at this moment.
When it is very important. Without knowing this, there's no way to calculate how big your capacitor bank would need to be.

16. Originally Posted by BennyF
YOU'RE the one that is ignorant of how capacitors work, and you can't change that with an accusation. You said that current can't go through a capacitor and you were wrong.

Insulators usually block current, but when two conductive materials are separated by a very thin insulator, and a DC voltage is applied across both of the conductors, an electric field grows around the insulator, effectively allowing the DC current to keep flowing.

That's why capacitors are used in billions of electric circuits. Get back to chapter one of your electricity textbook.
You didn't answer my question.

But oh dear. You claim an insulator ceases to be an insulator when it's sandwiched between two conductors?

Pop quiz on the construction of capacitors;

Why put an insulator there in the first place, if you want current to flow?
Why not a resistor?

17. Originally Posted by MacGyver1968
Current dividers don't multiply voltage. The voltage stays the same.
MacGyver, you're half-right and half-wrong. The voltage in each branch of a current divider IS the same, but if you have five current branches, and if there's a capacitor in each one, with a current rating higher than the voltage applied to the divider, then EACH of the five capacitors has stored the same voltage, at the expense of the current, so when you add up the voltage stored in each of the five capacitors, you'll see five times the voltage that you would've seen if you only had one cap in one wire, receiving the total DC voltage from the source.

18. Originally Posted by phlogistician
You didn't answer my question.
Well, you didn't answer my question, and I asked it first. If current can't go through a capacitor, as you claim, then why are they used in billions of circuits?

No more answers to your questions until you answer my first question.

19. Originally Posted by phlogistician
... a capacitor effectively contains an insulator to prevent current passing through it ....
Wrong, wrong, wrong, and you really need to get your information from textbooks instead of playgrounds.

20. Originally Posted by BennyF
MacGyver, you're half-right and half-wrong. The voltage in each branch of a current divider IS the same, but if you have five current branches, and if there's a capacitor in each one, with a current rating higher than the voltage applied to the divider, then EACH of the five capacitors has stored the same voltage, at the expense of the current, so when you add up the voltage stored in each of the five capacitors, you'll see five times the voltage that you would've seen if you only had one cap in one wire, receiving the total DC voltage from the source.
That's just wrong. Voltages don't add in a parallel resistive circuit. Time for that refresher course.

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