Pat Shingleton: "Wave Energy and Nano-Seconds..."
Years ago, The Electric Power Research Institute, a non-profit organization based in Palo Alto, CA, predicted that wave energy could someday fulfill 7 percent of the country’s current electricity demand. That percentage represents the same amount of energy produced by hydroelectric dams in the United States. Wave energy converters harness wave motion to generate electricity and are installed either on the sea floor or as floating buoys offshore. The buoys are unseen from the land and do not disrupt the environment. Since 2003, Europe embraced wave systems with projects currently in place in Hawaii, California, Washington, Rhode Island and Oregon. Ocean Power Technologies in New Jersey installed 50-ton buoys to power 50,000 homes. Imagine wave motion devices on the bottom of the fastest moving tributary in North America - the Mississippi and on abandoned oil rigs in the Gulf of Mexico. In closing, during the first part of the twentieth, the time resolution in lightning research was measured in milliseconds. Today, a sample lightning strike can be captured every 10 nanoseconds or faster. A nanosecond is one-billionth of a second, providing billions of data points with a single strike. This data reveals two of lightning's remaining mysteries: how it begins in the clouds and how it attaches to the ground. Scientists are learning more about the stepped leader or the beginning of the cloud-to-ground discharge. What they don't know is exactly where or when lightning begins in the clouds and how it attaches to the ground. Ben Franklin's goal for the understanding of lightning was providing safety against one of nature's most astonishing and powerful displays. The National Lightning Detection Network currently uses more than 800 antenna stations to record the time, polarity and signal strength of cloud-to-ground events across the United States.