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News Link • Energy

Could we ever harness energy from lightning?

•, Rebecca Boyle

Some people feel the same way about a thunderstorm. All that lightning, all those kilojoules of power, just waiting to be harnessed, if only we knew how do it!

But could it ever really happen? There are several reasons why the current answer is probably no — safety, for starters — but earlier this month, some lightning scientists in the UK demonstrated that someday, the answer could be maybe.

Nokia approached Neil Palmer, who directs Southampton University’s Tony Davies High Voltage Laboratory, to research harnessing lightning to charge a phone. “We wanted to look at whether we could harvest enough power to charge a Lumia 925 after the energy had moved through the air," Palmer told DVICE. Palmer set up a transformer providing an alternating current, and 200,000 volts of electricity sparked across about a foot (300 mm) of empty space. 

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