General Question

krrazypassions's avatar

How can we tap the energy of the oncoming solar storm forecasted around 2012?

Asked by krrazypassions (1352points) July 3rd, 2011

Solar storms are seen as destructive. The effects of a solar storm in current times, quoted from this article

An avalanche of blackouts carried across continents by long-distance power lines could last for weeks to months as engineers struggle to repair damaged transformers. Planes and ships couldn’t trust GPS units for navigation. Banking and financial networks might go offline, disrupting commerce in a way unique to the Information Age. According to a 2008 report from the National Academy of Sciences, a century-class solar storm could have the economic impact of 20 hurricane Katrinas.

But we can also see it as a blessing- a huge amount of energy at our doorstep. The question is, how can we utilize the energy of a solar storm as it passes the earth?

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10 Answers

jerv's avatar

Conductor + magnetic field + relative motion between the two = electricity.

And that right there is actually the problem, so be careful what you wish for ;)

krrazypassions's avatar

@jerv You mean that the very excessive currents that will be generated as earth passes through solar storm will ruin our electric systems…
But then, we all want more and more energy! So hasn’t someone thought of a way to utilize it?? All the talks about energy crisis, and here is energy excess coming to us- why don’t we have a system that will tap the energy?

Response moderated (Unhelpful)
krrazypassions's avatar

I wish to post two websites dedicated to the expected solar storm that came up on Google-

Solar Storm Warning this one doesn’t look official, but contains grave description of reasons and effects of the solar storm and tips for surviving the catastrophe.

Solar Stormwatch “Solar scientists need you! Help them spot explosions on the Sun and track them across space to Earth. Your work will give astronauts an early warning if dangerous solar radiation is headed their way. And you could make a new scientific discovery”

News report dated 9 June 2011— This Week’s Solar Flare Illuminates the Grid’s Vulnerability

Compels asking a much more pressing question: How do we survive the solar storm expected in 2012?

dabbler's avatar

We could hang a really really big drycleaning bag off the stern and collect the plasma bits as they go by then sell ‘em on ebay !
Oops! “General Question” my real answer is that I think the phenomenon is too unpredictable to capture in any practical way. We don’[t know where the plasma will hit earth. Otherwise we could put up some massive antennae and generate some usable juice.

DarlingRhadamanthus's avatar

I think the greatest concern….is definitely the grid going down and I don’t know of any other way to deal with this…except to prepare as you would for other storms…no water, no electricity, no computers, no cars working….what would you do? How would you live? Ask the questions and then simply go dig out your Girl Scout/Boy Scout handbooks and learn to toast more than s’mores!

jerv's avatar

@DarlingRhadamanthus This is where opening all of the disconnects would help mitigate things. We really don’t want what is effectively one big coil of wire running around the continent.

It is sad that we cannot make a reliable charger for some sort of storage system like a battery or capacitor (the input would be too erratic and unpredictable to be useful) nor could we even build a large enough storage bank to be truly worthwhile.

King_Pariah's avatar

With modern technology, there is no efficient way to harness this massive incoming coronal discharge. Theoretically we could trap it for use later, but constructing something that massive could easily use up more energy than it would be able to capture. Everything we have would almost definitely be fried (unless it was EMP hardened but not even that is a guarantee), so for a while you wouldn’t be able to harness that energy anyway. Maybe we could resurrect Tesla (lol), but that’s just me wishing the stupid world didn’t persecute a genius.

jerv's avatar

@King_Pariah I think that the power surge will be enough to actually bring Nikola back, much as Frankenstein’s monster was brought to life with a bolt of lightning.

King_Pariah's avatar

@jerv he’d probably be like, “what?! You all are still using this shit that I came up with about a century ago? Well that’s okay cuz while I was dead I came up with this, and this, and this….”

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