The story of Twan Bolderman

A young lad with just one goal in mind: to use lightning as a source of energy. But Twan wanted too much and wanted it too fast, just like others in society. He lost sight of the risks and dangers, which eventually led to his horrific death.

Twan was a fictional character which was designed to illustrate to us and today’s society that the way in which we treat each other now should not become the standard.

We like to believe. So much so that we choose to believe in something faster than we should. If we would take a step back and think about what can go wrong, then we shall see the possible dangers.

In contemporary society, we ‘people’ are spoiled by the speed of events. All techniques are becoming faster and it’s the heyday of globalization. That speed lets us yearn to all that is possible, but it also makes us aware of what we are as a society. Just think about youth unemployment, the immigration issue, global terrorism et cetera. Because of this speed, people want these problems to be solved immediately, despite the consequences.

With this hoax, I try to show that speed isn’t always positive. In our quest to always be faster, we don’t see the faults and consequences anymore. The dangers in our society run the risk of becoming issues which we ‘store’ to deal with later. When it has gone completely wrong, society will look at these issues and say ‘if only…, where did it go wrong?’

Before we make a choice, however big or small, first think carefully about what the consequences might be. Not only for yourself, but also for the future generations.

Let Twan Bolderman be a lesson, before it is too late.

Live!

Last test my LTPC broke and sliced my knee. A part of the shale broke down after a short-circuit of the mechanism. Biggest problem is that I my LTPC is broken and fixing it will be very costly.

Knee injury

To get more investors behind my project I used an older version to show the full potential of my Lightning to Power Converter. What I did was mounting the older smaller version into my backpack and used the antenna from my last test. If a lightning strike hits, I would be able to power my phone or laptop in my backpack!

I will be live streaming it tonight (15-06) on my Facebook page.

See you there!

It worked!

After two years of research I can finally say that I had a working prototype! Last Friday evening I did my second prototype test. Where with the first test the weather wasn’t in my favour, the second test the weather was just right. 

I lit up the balloon with the copper wire attached to it and was able to get a triggered lightning strike after 40 minutes. My Lightning to Power Converter was able to extract 8 ampere out of the strike with a voltage of 40, which comes down at about 300 watts. I know that it doesn’t sound big, you can probably run your washing machine for half a wash, but it is a very nice beginning.

The main goal of these first test was to see how many Watt my LTPC was able to convert from one lightning strike. To take my LTPC one step further I’m going to connect it to the closed power grid of my parents house, they are on holiday so they won’t even notice. I will do the test a usual and hope to able to power a part of my house out of one lightning strike. I will be testing it tonight (Monday 12th of June) if the weather conditions are favourable.

My successful prototype test got a bit of attention in the Dutch media:

Breda Vandaag (Dutch)

Omroep Brabant (Dutch)

Q-Music (Dutch) 

What a week!

Damm, what a week it has been. As you may have read in my previous blogs / tweets, I had planned this week to go to four different cities to measure the electric current in the air. So that I could find a good spot to test my Lightning to Power Converter. But also check if my measurement matched my hypothesis that some places have more electrical activity than others.

I built a device that could measure the positive and negative current in the air through copper wire and a couple of sensors. Beside that the tool I built was heavy (30 kilo or more) it also wasn’t very stable. I would have hoped to measure at a minimum hight of 3 meters above the ground. But when I lifted my tool it snaps halfway.

First I did my measurements in Breda, as you can see in the video above shot by a acquaintance of me. People looked very weird at me, I think that they don’t understand what hard work science can be. It is very underestimated among people who aren’t in the scene.

Then I went on to go to Amsterdam. All went well, till I wanted to travel back home. If you follow me on Twitter or Instagram you may no where this is heading to. I don’t have a car and traveling with a bike to Amsterdam from Breda is a bit far, so I chose to travel with train instead. When I was nearly home the train stared to smell very weird and smoke was coming from the rear. The train conductors where a bit panicked and ran to the back of the train to get people out of there. Wasn’t really sure what was going on, the only thing I knew was that the weren’t really happy with my travel gear to say the least.

There was an emergency brake in the middle of god knows where and we all had to leave the train as fast a possible. As you may know my gear was in its most transportable way 2 x 1 meters, had sharp edges and swell out into the hallways. So in the heat of the moment I was able to rip some sensor out and left my stuff in between seats.

When outside of the train the fire department came to check the train and in the end deport us from the train track. With all the trouble it took me almost 3 hours to travel a distance that normally takes one hour. But in the end I managed to take a beautiful picture of the sunset on a place most people won’t come!

Puntje bij paaltje (as we say in the Dutch) I’m still looking for a good spot to test my first LTPC prototype. But I’m very confident that when I find the perfect location, my prototype will work!

Update – Lightning spots

Just a small update of what I’m currently working on. I’ve found some interesting reports while doing some location research for the wiring test. I’ve looked at lightning strikes in the Netherlands in May 2004 till 2017, and some peculiar details came up.

I have found out that in these last 13 years, when there where lightning strikes in The Netherlands, they almost always striked near the same places. Why that is the case I’m not really sure. I’ve looked at wind on different levels, humidity, temperature and water currents. But I wasn’t able to pinpoint the exact reason why it happened on those places.

One place got me most interested. From 2004 till 2017 there was a place in The Netherlands that almost never got hit in May. In the north of The Netherlands (Groningen) there is a place that was only hit twice in this period. Even when there where severer thunderstorms near that location, that placed got spared.

To be absolutely sure that it isn’t a coincidence, I’m going to spit through all months from 2004 till 2017 to find out if it is recurring. Because it is a lot of data (5000+ lighting maps), I could use some help! Please send me a message via Twitter / Facebook or email, there will be beer and pizza!

Link to the lightning maps

The power of lightning

Lightning is one of the most powerful things we know, but it’s also something that we don’t fully understand. If we knew the full potential of lightning we would already use it as a power source and don’t waste al its energy.

Trough some research I’ve calculated that if we could harvest only a small part of one lightning strike we could power an average house for more than a month.

One single lightning strike is enough to fully charge an electric car for 33.750 times.

Researches have found out that an average lightning strike produces about 5 to 200 kiloampere and voltages vary from 40 to 120 kilovolt, which is about 2.700.000 watt-hour. An average household uses approximately 48.000 watt-hour per day. So with one single lightning strike we could power an average household for 56 days.

If you count for the fact that there are 100 lightning strikes every second, which is 8 million strikes a day, which is 2,9 billion strikes a year. You would have enough power to power 163,5 billion households for a day!