Conventional lightning rods attract lightning, but Lightning Suppression Systems’ PDCE lightning rods are actually able to prevent lightning strikes.
“Ordinary lightning rods collect the ground charge and cause it to discharge between the ground and the thundercloud. Our products prevent the ground charge from coming up to meet the lightning as it comes down from the cloud, and so prevent lightning from striking in the area around the device.”
Major examples of their application include the Great Buddha Statue at Ushiku and the Chikyu, a drillship used for deep earth exploration. The Chikyu is fitted with a superstructure that rises to a height of 120m above sea level and has the potential to attract lightning. Because the drillship is engaged in boring the seabed, it is unable to move away from a thunderstorm. For this reason, a PDCE lightning rod is attached to the top of her superstructure to prevent lightning strikes.
“This depends on the height at which the device is mounted, but if the device is mounted at a height of 1, lightning will not strike inside a cone with a radius of 5. If the device is attached to the top of a concrete telephone pole, at a height of 20m, lightning will not strike within a radius of 100m.”
The products are already commercially available, and are priced between $25,000 and $37,500. Lightning Suppression Systems is planning the commercial development of products for home use, and for mounting on disaster prevention wireless system masts and outdoor surveillance cameras, to be priced at around $6,000.