Lightning Power: It's not just for Flux Capacitors anymore

Anyone who's seen Back to the Future knows how awesome a power source lightning is. Now an inventor from Illinois is getting serious about harnessing lightning storms as an alternative energy source.

Steve LeRoy has developed a system whereby a lightning's tremendous power can be captured and harvested. He created a demo model, including a lightning generator that shoots out bolts three feet in length, each capable of powering a 60-watt light bulb for 20 minutes. Since an average Midwest thunderstorm contains enough energy to power the entire U.S.A. for 20 minutes, if LeRoy's idea could be expanded and implemented over a large area, we could really be onto something here. Even just one lightning strike could power 30,000 homes for a day, he says. Or one time-traveling DeLorean, of course.

BusinessWeek, via Inhabitat