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Energy Scavenging for Monitoring of Overhead Power Line Networks[attachment=17530]( the electric field directly below pylons, 1m from ground, could be around 1kV per meter )
Energy Harvesting from Electromagnetic Energy Radiating from AC power lines.[attachment=17528]
Clifford, I think the setup you tried could not work. It is not clear whether you are trying to gather power by the inductive coupling of parallel wires or by capacitive coupling. If the former you should try grounding the left hand end of the collecting wire, then have (say) a full wave rectifier connected to a grounded capacitor. The ground is a "return path". If trying to utilise capacitive coupling it would be best to get the collecting wire as high (close) to the power lines as you safely can then connect a full wave rectifier between the wire and a capacitor with a vertical wire to ground. In either case the power available is limited by the fact that the lines will be placed as a transmission line and the losses to ground minimised by the height and spacing. I would have thought you should get some power out of it though.