Lightning is abundant in some places in Earth. Attempts had been made it collect it. Laser triggered lightning below is the closest attempt.

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By the time it reaches the ground most of the power is lost in light, sound and heat.

Would collecting electricity in lightning rich areas enter image description here

with a net supported by storm worthy balloon that don't pop to collect lightning branches before it becomes lightning or forms a visable bolt in the clouds?

Would enough netting in the clouds collecting electricity prevent lightning?

Would the discharge would be more frequent, voltage lower and the amperage higher?

How much electricity would a good thunderstorm make if most of it could be collected before it turns into a lightning bolt?

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    $\begingroup$ It is very cool, but this is more of a wild scheme than a wordlbuilding endeavor. Check out halfbakery.com for lots more wild lightning harvesting schemes. Including one with molten tungsten, if I recall. $\endgroup$
    – Willk
    Mar 17, 2018 at 16:22
  • $\begingroup$ @Willk this is a relativity a simple model and a is lightning more valuable in the cloud question. No one has tried it since the kite on a key, $\endgroup$
    – Muze
    Mar 17, 2018 at 17:04
  • $\begingroup$ People did just that in Neil Gaiman's Stardust. $\endgroup$ Mar 18, 2018 at 5:26

1 Answer 1


The vast majority of the energy produced by your average lightning bolt is wasted by heating up and ionising the air around it. A large antenna array of fine conductors, placed on a suitable mountain/hilltop/slope, could route the charge to a battery or capacitor bank before any atmospheric breakdown occurs.

  • $\begingroup$ That is why you collect it before that happens in the clouds. $\endgroup$
    – Muze
    Mar 17, 2018 at 16:26
  • $\begingroup$ I doubt a chemical reaction (battery) can be fast enough to chase a lightning discharge... $\endgroup$
    – L.Dutch
    Mar 17, 2018 at 16:27
  • $\begingroup$ @L.Dutch I mean, it should theoretically be possible but it can also be explained away by some unobtanium equivalent in the battery. $\endgroup$ Mar 17, 2018 at 16:30
  • $\begingroup$ @L.Dutch I would use a crude electromagnet to turn a kinetic battery storage. By collecting it in the clouds the discharge will be less and total more than measured at the ground. The voltage should be lower with higher amps. No? $\endgroup$
    – Muze
    Mar 17, 2018 at 16:39
  • $\begingroup$ @Muze: Your higher amps will burn your coil. Remember electromagnets are inductors, which work by resisting changes in current $\endgroup$
    – nzaman
    Mar 17, 2018 at 16:50

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