Content from external source:
In its November 2001 issue, Power Quality published an article by Donald Zipse, “Prevent Lightning Strikes
with Charge Transfer Systems” (referred to as Zipse’s article in this letter), which describes a system which
the author claims can prevent lightning strikes. Since the time Benjamin Franklin demonstrated the effectiveness
of lightning rods in preventing or greatly reducing the damage from direct lightning strikes,
there have been many “magical” lightning protection systems marketed which fail to live up to the fantastic
claims of their salesmen. These systems are usually marketed by charismatic salesmen who “verify” their
claims with testimonials from satisfied customers, but who have no hard scientific or empirical evidence
of the effectiveness of their systems. Such salesmen were vividly portrayed as early as 1856 in Herman
Melville’s short story, The Lightning Rod Man, and the reputation of these salesmen and their systems often
puts lightning protection in the same category as snake oil in the public’s mind.
In recent years there have been two highly marketed “magical” systems — the Charge Transfer System
(CTS) described in Zipse’s article, and Early Streamer Emission (ESE) air terminals. CTS’s claim to prevent
lightning strikes to a protected area, while ESE systems claim that a single air terminal (another name for
a lightning rod) will collect all lightning within an exceptionally large radius (typically 100 meters). When
subjected to hard scrutiny, both systems have failed to live up to their claims.