# Capacitor to store lightning?

Discussion in 'General Science & Technology' started by cato, Sep 21, 2004.

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1. ### Billy TUse Sugar Cane Alcohol car FuelValued Senior Member

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To get to just a million volts BennyF would need a series string of 50 of those large 20KV capacitors. The string would be a would have only 0.02 fraction of the capacity one of the capacitors in the string, which I would guess is not more than 20 microfarads. (I used quite similar capacitors for 15 years when working on the controlled fusion problem.) If that guess is correct, he would with 50 units have a 0.4 microfarad / million volt capacitor in which he could store the staggering quantity of 0.2 joules!

(Note 0.2J could sustain a 100W light bulb for 2 milli seconds! If the filament were cold and 0.2J were dumped into it, I doubt it would even get hot enough to emit any light. BennyF is going to disconnect entire office buildings from the grid with his invention! We should move this thread to "jokes and funny stories" thread. Great ignorance can be amusing.)

Most high voltage capacitors are used in a fast discharge mode to get very high powers. Thus they are also designed to keep the internal inductance as low as possible as it is the LC time constant that determines how fast you can dump the stored energy. This makes these capacitors more expensive. You did not tell the price, but I would guess at least $400 each.* If that is correct, he would pay$20,000 to store 0.2J at in at a million volts.

The 1.25 J stored at 5 V in the 1 Farad capacitors of post 53 photo is 6.5 times more energy than 0.2J so if he wanted to store the same 1.25J at a million volts, and my guesses are about correct, it would cost him 6.5x20,000 = $1.25 million dollars - nearly what I calcualted before in post 54 but less as only 50, not a million subunits to buy and wire up. These near identical results tend to confirm my guesses. PS one reason why high voltage capacitors with rating above about 20KV are not common is that is about the limit of Hg vapor ignatron switches - You don't dischage these 20KV capacitors with a knife switch especially in a string with a million volt charge. -------- * I would not be the least surprized if a low inductance, 20 microfarad, 20KV capacitor cost$1000 now. If that is the case, then BennyF string would cost more than 3 million dollars to store the same energy as the $5, low-voltage capacitor of the post 53 photo! And that does not include the oil filled room they operate in to avoid air breakdown discharge. Last edited by a moderator: Mar 26, 2010 2. ### Google AdSenseGuest Advertisement to hide all adverts. 3. ### MacGyver1968Fixin' Shit that Ain't BrokeValued Senior Member Messages: 7,028 4. ### Google AdSenseGuest Advertisement to hide all adverts. 5. ### Captain KremmenAll aboard, me Hearties!Valued Senior Member Messages: 12,738 Anyone got ideas on how to capture some of the energy from a hurricane? 6. ### Google AdSenseGuest Advertisement to hide all adverts. 7. ### Stoniphiobscurely fossiliferousValued Senior Member Messages: 3,118 8. ### MacGyver1968Fixin' Shit that Ain't BrokeValued Senior Member Messages: 7,028 A really big windmill? Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image! 9. ### BennyFRegistered Senior Member Messages: 448 Au Revoir, my fellow Americans This may be my last post on this topic. I have seen signs of a discouraged U.S. energy market, suffering from a formally-recognized recession, credible talk of a peak in oil supplies, a President of questionable birth who doesn't seem to want businessmen to make profits in any industry, and anecdotal stories of independent inventors who have had their workshops raided, their families threatened, and their inventions stolen. Two example: The inventor of the supercomputer, Seymour Cray, died in a car accident of suspicious nature, and a man who designed and tested an electrolyzer for vehicles was personally threatened so badly that he passed his ideas along to friends before he publicly announced he was quitting the business. Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image! Here's an exact quote from one paragraph of a 2006 web page: "After announcing that he had successfully built a truck that runs on Joe Cell technology, drawing energy from water and Orgone, Bill Williams said he was approached by two men who demanded that he stop his research, threatening him with dire consequences if he didn't. Others are keeping it alive." I decided to fight this malaise by registering on this board with a pseudonym (to protect my identity) and by posting enough generic information to give the country some hope that a new energy source was possible, that the proof of its' existence would come from the U.S. Patent Office, and that once a patent had been approved, the new energy source would be developed privately which would enable the existing electric grid to be spared more usage by another company. My company will not need any electricity from my grid, because my office will be electrically self-sufficient. Those were the reasons why I posted my first messages. However, as time went on, I saw few signs that anything had changed. I still saw a search for the technical details that I must keep hidden in order to satisfy the requirements of the patent office. I still saw more than enough scepticism that any energy could ever come from lightning, which has a lot of it, just waiting to be developed. I will stop posting for awhile on this topic. I may post on other topics on this website, but I will not discuss lightning (not lightening, Nasor), and I will not talk about my circuit designs, because they won't be relevant to the topics of the other boards. You all are welcome to compare the size of your dielectrics without me. Just remember that I am still working alone on my patent application. Oh, and just because my previous goals have been challenged by people who haven't seen my circuit designs, I have set a new goal. I now intend to store ONE HUNDRED BILLION VOLTS of DC electricity, using a single lightning bolt as my power source. And no, I still won't be breaking any laws, including Ohm's. Vaya con Dios, Benny F Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image! (a pseudonym) 10. ### Billy TUse Sugar Cane Alcohol car FuelValued Senior Member Messages: 23,198 Even if submerged in the highest dielectric strength oil known, you will not store it for more than a few microsecond before there is an electrical breakdown discharge. I know you are not interested in learning about these things, but if you ever change your mind, you might read about "bloom line" capacitors. They are two simple plates with extremely pure water between as the dielectric. Other capacitors quickly dump their charge into the bloom line, and over volt it. I.e. the water dielectric starts to breakdown and discharge the bloom line capacitor internally, but before an arc path thru the water can be established, the bloom line capacitor is dumped into the external load. Bloom lines are rarely used, but they can achieve the greatest power out puts of all capacitors as they can be dumped (must be dumped) in a few micro seconds or less. Even only 1 Joule, dumped in a microsecond is a 1MW power level. I don't remember the details, never worked with a bloom line, but think a well designed one can deliver higher power levels than the entire output of the largest electric plant in the world. Any discussion of bloom lines you find will help you understand dielectric breakdown mechanisms. There are no dielectric that can resist breakdown if ONE HUNDRED BILLION VOLTS exists between any two points which are not many meters* apart but as the bloom line technology shows you can overvolt the dielectric for a few microseconds of storage. Vaya con Dios, Billy T ------------------- *As the typical voltage difference between the cloud and the ground is only 200 million volts, never more than a billion volts, and you are speaking of 100 times greater voltage you had better keep the "two points" with hundred billion volts voltage difference of your device many kilometers apart to avoid air break down lightning bolt discharging your storage. Last edited by a moderator: Mar 27, 2010 11. ### Captain KremmenAll aboard, me Hearties!Valued Senior Member Messages: 12,738 Bye Benny. Here's another quote from wiki. The terawatt is equal to one trillion watts. The total power used by humans worldwide (about 16 TW in 2006) is commonly measured in this unit. The most powerful lasers from the mid-1960s to the mid-1990s produced power in terawatts, but only for nanosecond time frames. The average stroke of lightning peaks at 1 terawatt, but these strokes only last for 30 microseconds. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Terawatt#Multiples @Nasor, how does that compare in energy output with the previous calculation? 12. ### NeverflyBannedBanned Messages: 3,576 Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image! Oh God! Tell another one! 13. ### BennyFRegistered Senior Member Messages: 448 "Oh God! Tell another one!" - Neverfly OK, I know where to find brand-new capacitors with voltage ratings greater than 20Kv. See you at the patent office, Benny 14. ### Billy TUse Sugar Cane Alcohol car FuelValued Senior Member Messages: 23,198 One hundred billion v = 10E11 V and 20KV = 2E4 thus in a series string you will need 10E11/2E4 or 5E7 or 50,000,000 or fifty million of them. What do they coast? Surely more than$100 so you must be very rich to foolishly spend 5 billion dollars on a scheme that will breakdown the air and discharge the stored energy in a few micro seconds.

Actually you will never get it charged up to a million volts before the corona discharge bleeds charge off as fast as you can supply it. (That rate will be limited by the LC time constant of you charging system - why a lightning bolt last for a few milli-seconds.) You know all about corona discharges, do you not?
:roflmao:

Last edited by a moderator: Mar 27, 2010
15. ### BennyFRegistered Senior Member

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448
Billy, the fact that lightning voltage only lasts for a fraction of a second simply means that lightning has a high amount of current. I've seen reputable current levels in the tens of thousands of amps, and Nasa reported that a 200 K amp lightning bolt hit a structure on the grounds once.

If you'll remember, I said in an early post that high voltage levels and high current levels were GOOD NEWS, not bad, for anyone that wants to use lightning as a power source.

I meant what I said.

I'm eager to store the energy from my first one terawatt lightning bolt, so that my company office can be electrically self-sufficient for more than a year.

16. ### Billy TUse Sugar Cane Alcohol car FuelValued Senior Member

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Terawatts are no more a measure of energy than volts are, but you have shown you do not want to learn so I will not waste more time.

Some poster already gave the energy of a typical lightning bolt and noted it is dissipated over the entire length of the bolt, not just near the ground where some could be collected. Energy you can collect is very tiny fraction of the total -perhaps \$1 worth from the power company. Your office must be very efficient (and dark at night) if your annual electric bill is only one dollar.

17. ### BennyFRegistered Senior Member

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448
Ask not what your lightning-supplied electric utility company can do for you.

Ask what you can do for your lightning-supplied electric utility company, the one that is turning water into hydrogen and oxygen on the side.

18. ### MacGyver1968Fixin' Shit that Ain't BrokeValued Senior Member

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What do you plan on doing during the winter...when electrical storms don't occur? (very often)

19. ### BennyFRegistered Senior Member

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448
One lightning bolt, processed properly by my collection and storage equipment, will supply electricity to my office and my electrolyzer. Before the voltage has been drained, another storm will come by and supply more voltage.

Please don't try to tell me that you've seen my circuit diagrams, and please don't tell me that there isn't enough juice in lightning to make collection worthwhile.

I know that most of the energy is dissipated in the air. I know that most of the lightning bolts travel from one cloud to another one. I know that people have been searching for two centuries for a method of storing that much electricity.

I also know that the spot where a lightning bolt hits becomes four times hotter than the surface of the sun. This is why lightning can and does start forest fires, including one in June of 2008 that scorched most of a wildlife reservation in North Carolina. Do you really think that this kind of energy isn't worth collecting??

Oh, please permit me to repeat myself, simply for the sake of emphasis. Any lightning bolt that hits my collection equipment won't hit anywhere else.

DO YOU REALLY THINK THAT WHAT I'M DOING ISN'T WORTHWHILE ??

20. ### BennyFRegistered Senior Member

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448
I'm trying to save the dozens of lives that are snuffed out by direct hits with lightning bolts. I'm trying to save the property that gets damaged by lightning. I'm trying to prevent firefighter resources from being mobilized on short notice and without enough food and water being given to them when they arrive at the scene of a wildfire. I'm trying to prevent the residue of fire-retardant chemicals from blighting our landscape.

I'm also trying to reduce the need for more fossil fuels to be dug up or imported, just to supply the energy that turns turbines that generate electricity for the grid. If one lightning bolt can keep my office going AND turn water into hydrogen and oxygen at a low cost, then I'm going to do it, and if nobody else knows how to process lightning, then you all can keep asking me for my circuit diagrams, and you all can keep on guessing, because it'll be MY name on the patent application, not yours.

21. ### BennyFRegistered Senior Member

Messages:
448
Hey MacGyver, lightning hits Toronto's CN tower over twenty times every year. Just how warm do you think their summer is?

And just how difficult is it really to collect 100-500Mv from a single lightning bolt, turn that into a hundred billion volts, and store it in a capacitor-based system?

Gee, it must be terribly difficult. Nobody's been able to do it since Mr. Franklin flew his kits.

Then again, nobody thought in 1950 that less than twenty years later, a man would be standing on the moon and brought back to earth safely.

22. ### BennyFRegistered Senior Member

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448
Hey, does anybody want to save 80-100 lives every year? Does anybody want to prevent forest fires, except the ones set on purpose by the US Government to reduce the amount of deadwood? Does anybody want to save the animals that are killed by lightning-sparked wildfires?

Fine. That part is easy. Set up some grounded lightning rods in the eastern half of the country, especially in northern Florida, and tell all the air-traffic controllers where they are, so that airplanes and helicopters won't bump into them. Every time a bolt hits the tower, the voltage will be grounded.

And therefore wasted.

I want more. Much more. I want a hundred billion volts to be stored in my equipment, ready to be directed through an electrolyzer and into a DC-AC inverter.

And I'm not going to rest until I get them.

23. ### MacGyver1968Fixin' Shit that Ain't BrokeValued Senior Member

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Well Benny, you didn't answer my question. To answer your's...Toronto sees temperatures in the 70's and 80's during the summer, about the same we see here in Dallas in the early Spring.

In most places, electrical storms just don't occur during the winter months. There just isn't enough energy in the atmosphere in the form of heat for the storms to form. Depending on where you live, that's 3 (Dallas) to 6 (Ohio) months of the year that your system will sit idle. What do you plan on doing during the winter months?

I'm not trying to be a "nay-sayer". I like conceptualizing new ideas too. The first thing I do with any new idea is run a "feasibility study". I welcome others to point out potential problems in my ideas, because I may not have thought of everything. You don't seem to want to hear any problems your idea might have.