The impact of atmospheric energy in the form of lightening accompanied by thunders has been probably experienced by all of us during thunderstorms or dust storms. If we can grab even a mere part of this energy, the energy scarcity of the entire world will be resolved. However, scientists are striving from decades together to grab and store this renewable free energy.
The outer layer of earth’s atmosphere ranges from 85 km to 600 km, it is called as ionosphere which is also an important part in atmospheric electricity. The Sun is the cause of atmospheric electricity on the Earth. The Sun transmits positively charged particles, which are picked up by the Earth’s magnetic field and forms a highly positively charged territory called Ionosphere. Atmospheric electricity is formed by the regular cyclic variations of the Earthâs electromagnetic network and is greater in the middle of the day and more in winter.
The earth has negative charge while, the atmospheric charge changes its polarity. The potential difference between earth and atmosphere creates the atmospheric electricity. Due to the induction of this positive charge, a negative charge is formed on the Earth’s surface and thereby establishes a potential gradient between these two. This potential gradient varies from 100 to 300 Vm-1 from summer to winter, respectively. Polar Aurora is the best example of atmospheric electricity. By means of capacitors or placing an electrostatic motor we can convert this static atmospheric electricity into AC.
2. The Approach
The northern hemisphere is having the highest jet streams generally with a speed of 310 miles per hr. Scientists are planning to keep a kite shaped wind-power generators at these high speed winds to produce electrical energy which can be transmitted to the Earth by a tether. The atmospheric electricity generator may be having turntable kite type or ladder mill type, or gyroglider type or gyrokite type of arrangements.
A. ‘Turntable Kite’ consists of a rotating turntable kite, ‘Ladder Mill’ consists of a long loop of power/transaction kites, ‘gyroglider’ consists of a rotary wing aircraft without engine, while the ‘gyrokite’ consists of a gyroplane or a helicopter with an un-powered rotor.
B. An Aerostat is a craft that can be filled with the lighter gasses, which are lighter than air and can fly in the air. In 1920s, Dr. Hermann Plauson from Germany has designed the aerostats made from the combination magnesium and aluminum alloy. With some modifications, this device has fled to a height of 81 and 1/2 kilowatts in 24 hours with the help of twin balloons and a special condenser battery.
C. Pyramidal Electric Transducer is a direct current (DC) to Radio Frequency (RF) Converter, which can be used to capture the atmospheric electrostatic energy. Peter Grandics, a Californian researcher has revealed that the GPG (i.e. Great Pyramid of Giza) modeled pyramidal horn antennas are capable of catching the short-pulse waveforms and transmit the atmospheric electrostatic energy into an electrical circuit that has a set capacitance and Inductance. When these antennas are placed in the high altitudes, they can convert the sudden impulses into an AC (alternating current), which can be utilized the renewable electric power.
a. Free as using almost low cost technology
b. Eco-friendly, renewable and reliable energy
c. The harvesting technology is very simple but strong enough
d. Available irrespective of day or night and summer or winter.
e. Omnipresent on the earth, very high at poles
a. Tethers are required to transmit the power generated by these machines to ground and may obstruct aircraft. The tetherâs thickness also more as more density means more output. So, high dense tethers are of bigger balloon size causing increased maintenance.
b. Badly effected with coarse weather.
c. If the height is increased than 200meters, electrical insulation is required to avoid the leakage.
d. It is very difficult to design a balloon ionizer with higher current capacities.
Unlike Solar cells, Fernando Galembeck’s collectors can work in highest humidity areas of the world. By minimizing the electrical charge in the air, his collectors could prevent lightning. The team lead by Fernando Galembeck is experimenting with different metals now, to find out the most suitable metal for capturing atmospheric electricity and preventing lightning strikes.