Can you harness the electricity in lightning?

15 July 2007

Question

Can you harness the electricity in lightning?

Answer

There are 2000 thunderstorms going on at any one time around the earth, this equates to about 100 strikes every second. The average lightning strike unleashes the same energy as about a tonne of TNT. This could be about 1 billion Joules of energy - if you consider a 100W lightbulb in comparison:

A 100 W lightbulb uses 100 J of energy every second, which is 360,000 J per hour, or about 9 million J per day. This means that with the energy from 1 lightning bolt could light just 1 100 W lightbulb for 100 days.

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