Today’s Solutions: December 08, 2022

When it comes to hurricanes, wildfires, and other environmental hazards, early alerts are key to minimizing risk to people from these high-powered natural phenomena. 

What if there were a system that both warned individuals of weather events like these and then converted their power into usable energy? 

Lightning in a bottle?

Project First Light is a not-for-profit organization that wants to protect people and propel energy to the next level. They are developing a tower-based internet broadcast system to warn its users of impending weather events. In this system, they aim to improve communication speed and national security. This is just the beginning, though. 

In the future, Project First Light wants to use our country’s existing fossil fuel and electrical networks to transfer energy collected from lightning strikes. Yes, lightning strikes. The average thunderstorm can power 200,000 US homes, and the Project will use lightning collection technology on its towers to harness that power and deliver it to communities. 

Catching lightning might hold promise for powering homes and for farmland, which is experiencing more fires due to increasing lightning storms. The methods for doing so are still being worked out, and the organization wants to develop rapid-charge batteries in which to store this diverted energy, which could be collected on land and sea.  It’s a wild idea, but perhaps it could work.

“The Green Lighthouse”

Speaking of the sea, Project First Light is gaining support to transform Platform Holly, a decommissioned oil rig off of Santa Barbara, California into “The Green Lighthouse.” With natural rock placed around the base of the structure, “The Green Lighthouse” will develop into a habitat for diverse sea life, a wave breaker for the onshore community, and a wind and wave energy collector. 

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