Lightning Rod and Peer-to-Peer Against EMP and Solar Flare

here are my solutions agains Electro Magnetic pulse (EMP) either from natural source: or from a man-made weapon: .

the "sea urchin" lightning-rod, and the "peer-to-peer" electric power distribution, are my inventions. all the other stuff are not my ideas, just me putting two and two together in things that can save us from EMP.


this helps me to think and research about EMP and Solar Flare because lightning was studied a lot more.

i base this assumption on two sources, the first is the article about EMP in Wikipedia where lightning is the first type of EMP and the only restriction is that lightning is longer:

"Lightning is unusual in that it typically has a preliminary "leader" discharge of low energy building up to the main pulse, which in turn may be followed at intervals by several smaller bursts."

the other source is an article titled: "Differences Between Lightning and Nuclear Electromagnetic Pulse Interactions"
by Edward F. Vance and Martin A. Uman in IEEE Transactions on Electromagnetic compatibility vol 30 No. 1 February 1988 (page 58) :

"Most comparisons of lightning interactions with structures have dealt with small bodies of roughly the size of aircraft.
These comparisons indicate that a severe natural lightning can deliver a larger peak current and more charge to a small system than can the HEMP (high altitude nuclear explosions). Until recently, because of the lack of wide-band lightning measurements, it was thought that the HEMP produces much larger rates of change of fields and induces much larger rates of change of current than does LEMP (electromagnetic transients from lightning) . However, recent wide-band measurements of lightning current waveforms on a research aircraft as well as other evidence to be presented in Section IV-E indicate that rates of rise of the same order of magnitude as those reported for HEMP may be possible for lightning currents and fields."

in other words for an average house lightning is at least as "strong" as an EMP from a nuclear bomb. so i base everything that follows on the principle that if it's good enough for a direct hit by lightning, it's good enough for a nuclear EMP. (solar flare is like EMP happening all at once above every place in that half sphere of our planet).


many people want to catch the lightning and store its power in a battery:

as you can see in Wikipedia the problem is not technical but economical, you don't get enough lightnings in the same spot, and each one of them doesn't carry enough energy to make it worth it.

but now we are talking about saving lives so we don't care about money.

see for example this annoying* video by Adam Savage Catches Lightning in a Bottle - Unimpossible Missions by Adam Savage’s Tested:

* (because it only refers to another video which is unavailable)

and read more details about the unavailable full video here:
Don’t Try This At Home: How To Catch A Lightning In A Bottle , by Tomas Kellner in GE reports.

ok so after we agree that it can be done technically, and that the EMP / SF is just many lightnings over a large area all happening at once, then the first part of the home protection solution is trivial:

put many lightning rods, not just from above but in all directions of the building and ground them all to the Earth! so this is what i call "sea urchin" lightning rod.

how can we make it better? if you have one lightning then the Earth can take it no problem, but if there are many lightnings (EMP / SF) it might be full of charge and electrify the house instead.

so we need to do something similar to what Benjamin Franklin did: use a Leyden Jar ( )

Web Originals : Ask History: Ben Franklin and his Kite | History

so what i suggest each person will do is build a Leyden Jar which is very simple:

SHOCKING Science with a Leyden Jar by The King of Random

Yes. You can make a Leyden jar with some simple stuff. by Rhett Allain

Make a SUPER HIGH VOLTAGE Capacitor by Mehdi Sadaghdar from ElectroBOOM

in these demos they make a small one, but you should make a big one for example a big bucket or water tight barrel.

you should put it in a hole in the ground near the house and cover it with soil, and a thick electric cable protected with coating should conduct the electric charge from each lightning rod to its own Leyden jar.

how can we make sure it will no discharge from the Leyden jar back to through the cable and into the house (Leyden jar is a capacitor that we just charged and it can discharge) ?

we need to connect the last half a meter or so of the cable using a very thin wire, for example take an empty 1.5 litres family size soft drink bottle made of plastic. puncture a small hole in the bottom and in the cap, and pass the thin wire through them.

what we are trying to do is called: Exploding Wire Method

for example here is a very long wire:

so in a sense the whole bottle thing is used as a one direction diode. after the air in the bottle becomes conducting plasma and takes the electricity into the Leyden jar, the bottle explodes and the the electricity cannot go back so the house is safe. this is why the bottle should not be burried in the ground, because after it explodes we want the plasma to scatter. and it's made of plastic and it's relatively small because we don't want anybody to get injured.


here is a quote from an experiment what happens in an EMP to the power plant (destroyed) to the power lines (shut down) and to over voltage protections (burn) :

"The Soviet scientists instrumented a 570-kilometer (350 mi) section of telephone line in the area that they expected to be affected by the nuclear detonation in order to measure the electromagnetic pulse effects. The electromagnetic pulse (EMP) fused all of the 570-kilometer monitored overhead telephone line with measured currents of 1500 to 3400 amperes during the 22 October 1962 test. The monitored telephone line was divided into sub-lines of 40 to 80 kilometres (25 to 50 mi) in length, separated by repeaters. Each sub-line was protected by fuses and by gas-filled overvoltage protectors. The EMP from the 22 October (K-3) nuclear test caused all of the fuses to blow and all of the overvoltage protectors to fire in all of the sub-lines of the 570 km (350 mi) telephone line. The EMP from the same test caused the destruction of the Karaganda power plant, and shut down 1,000 km (620 mi) of shallow-buried power cables between Astana (then called Aqmola) and Almaty."

the simplest solution is that each house in a hot area will buy (every time i say do something means ahead of time) solar panels or in cold places wind turbine, or in moderate climate both. every house will install them in his yard and on his roof and will provide enough electricity for himself. for example people who live in off grid in Alaska do this (they have a diesel generator and diesel only for backup).

of course we need to protect the sensitive parts (the electronics etc) with Faraday cage, and make sure that normally these solar panels or wind turbines are never connected to the grid or else the EMP will fry them.

(also i suggest we protect even the non electronic parts as much as possible, using partial Faraday cages like metal grids or nets or meshes, for example let's say we have rectangle solar panel on the ground, we can put it on four building blocks so it's above ground, and stick four metal stakes close to the solar panel corners and tie a metal grid (like the ones used in construction sites) so the Sun can come through but the EMP will hopefully electrify the metal grid and be routed into the ground with the metal stakes. a similar solution for the wind turbine is more complicated but maybe we can sew a metal net like the ones people put in the windows against mosquitoes around each blade of the turbine and improvise metal brushes that will rub against another metal net on the supporting pole that will take the EMP to the ground.)

since the power from the Sun and wind is not available all the time, each house needs a battery to store all the energy during the day (or when it's windy) and use it during the night (or when it's not windy).

BUT as you will soon see this Autarky (self-sufficiency) is not always ideal. what if for example you have a lot of area for solar panels but you don't cows and chicken, so you have a lot of electricity but no food. and lets say your neighbor has the opposite situation, they have a lot of tasty food but no electricity. to make a long story short you want to trade electricity.

so one way to do this is of course giving one of your full batteries to your neighbor and he gives you an empty battery in return. but what if you don't live next to each other?


wouldn't it be great if each house could give and take electricity from his few close neighbors? what if we could scale this up to a whole structure like an internet of electricity?

as you know the internet was built for exactly this problem. the USA was afraid that one or a few bombs could take out all its computer communication, if the control center was hit. so the internet is made so that there is no one center, there is the backbone, but in theory you cannot bring down the entire internet because even if the best route to the destination is not possible, the message can always take another longer route (through the computers that did survive) and reach its destination. this is done using the IP protocol which means Internet Protocol.

maybe a better example for most people is the Peer to Peer (which is abbreviated P2P) architecture. let's say you want to download a movie in torrent, but the movie is not stored in one central server, because then the law authorities will shut that server computer down. but instead the movie is copied between many little people and each of them becomes a server, so the system is resilient.

so we want to do the same with electricity. we want to keep it ourselves and pass it around. but we face two problems.

the first problem is in the words of Grady Hillhouse from Practical Engineering:

"electricity can't be created STORED and used at a later time. the instant it's produced it's used, no matter how far the producer is from the user."

but if each of us will have an array of batteries at home they act as a Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS)

the other problem is resistance: it's very hard for the Direct Current (DC) from the battery to move in the electric cable. this is because Direct Current (DC) travels through the whole volume of the cable, while Alternate Current (AC) travels along the surface of the cable so it doesn't suffer from resistance. (AC tackles impedance but it's not as bad as resistance).

Why Use AC Instead of DC at Home?? by  ElectroBOOM

but there is a solution that can solve all our problems, it's a kind of current that is something between DC and AC and it's called Pulsed DC, or Pulsating Direct Current (and anyway in short PDC).

it travels all the time in the same direction, but it's like ON and OFF and ON and OFF ...

now i will show you what made me smile, it's this one line in Wikipedia:

"Pulsating direct current is used on PWM controllers."

why did i smile? because when you check what PWM means it means Pulse Width Modulation

and there Wikipedia has another very very nice line:

"Along with MPPT maximum power point tracking, it is one of the primary methods of reducing the output of solar panels to that which can be utilized by a battery."

so this kind of special current Pulsed Direct Current (PDC) can pass from house to house like AC but without all the transformers that you need for the AC

(because we can't have transformers between each two houses to crank the voltage up and then down again)

OK so where do we get this wonderful Pulsed Direct Current (PDC) ? that's the beauty of it, it's a by product of the peer-to-peer (p2p) system!

on each node (which means each utility pole ) we will install, after the EMP , an electronic card that will be able to do the smart stuff which means implementing the IP (internet protocol) of that city. like if Alice wants to send a packet of electricity from her house to Bob's house, each smart card will know all the IP addresses and all the different routes the packet can be sent. also the electronic smart card will activate an actuator to make it happen

each node works like a Telephone Switchboard

but instead of for phone lines for electricity lines.

let's imagine the mechanism next to Alice's house. it has a round dial like a clock's face, and the electrical cable from Alice is connected to the hand of the clock (with a metal brush). and the hand on the clock can go around. but in our clock it doesn't show time, instead it just spins and spins endlessly.

so remember that Alice wants to send a packet to Bob.

let's say in this example that there are 3 possible routes: through Carol, through Dan, through Erin.

the actuator pushes these peoples numbers, let's that their numbers are 1 , 2 , 3 .

so now each of these numbers get an electric packet and the electric packet come in short bursts which is effectively the Pulsed Direct Current (PDC).

now suppose Carol's and Dan's houses have burnt cables from the EMP, but Erin still is functioning, then Bob will eventually get electricity through Erin.

to make this complete we want to encode on each packet (like in Morse code) who it's from and who it's going to just like the packets in the internet, and then we can track them better.

one last thing you might see in Wikipedia about PDC:

"Devices and circuits may respond differently to pulsating DC than they would to non-pulsating DC, such as a battery or regulated power supply and should be evaluated."

but remember that in my scenario everybody is using their battery which means what gets to your house is PDC, but inside your house you use DC.


this is just to finish of the previous part, if you say ok what happens if there is another EMP, does everything burns again?

the smart cards indeed burn again they are delicate, we need to make backup of copies of those but electronic cards are cheap to make.

but the expansive hardware of power lines is more robust, because the grid is not all connected all the time.

this is because the hand of the clock doesn't touch all the numbers on the clock all the time.

also i suggest we use lightning arrester which is a bigger version of surge arrester and if there is a lightning it takes it to the ground instead of allowing it to burn the wire.

lightning arresters' component silicon carbide was first made by Acheson process from mixture of clay (aluminium silicate) and powdered coke (carbon) in an iron bowl that you pass electricity through, so it can't be expansive. you can see in this nice video of Edward Goodrich Acheson in action (i guess it's a docudrama (dramatized re-enactment) although the motion-picture camera was invented in 1888 so maybe it is him?)

another option is to make the lightning arresters from zinc oxide which is made by melting zinc and zinc is a pretty common metal with low melting point so this can't be expansive as well.

yet another option is the cheapest of all: to make a spark gap which is like what we did in the plastic bottle for the one-way "lightning-rod to Leyden-jar" but without the exploding wire.

what if all of the power lines are down?

i suggest that we then use something that is conducting and reaches each and every house by which i mean non-plastic water pipes (meaning steel and copper pipes).

this requires the population to be careful because for example in the night time the city will supply power over the water pipes. this protects children who might use the tap and die.

to use the plumbing we need to isolate it from the ground which is hard because most of it runs underground and inside walls (although a wall doesn't necessarily conduct to the ground).

the water themselves contain ions and are conducting (distilled water are not conducting), but if we use the Pulsed Direct Current (PDC) the current will flow on the pipe (the outside) and not in the water (the inside). 

since pipes need to be sealed for the water pressure, we can't disconnect them and connect them in their present condition so this requires reinforced plastic nodes to be used between the houses or between every few houses at max, so that we have individual "blocks" of emergency electrical distribution.


ok so the people have electricity but where will they get all their food and water?

everything is moved by trucks, but the problem is that all the new vehicles have a computer and electronics and the EMP will fry that.

so again it's pretty trivial but the solution is to save as many old trucks from 1980 or earlier in good condition that we can and maintain them in good condition.

we also have to take them for a ride once in a while so their battery is full and so on:

the rest of the time (which is 99%) they should be in special emergency garages which are made with metal walls which will act as Faraday's Cage and protect the trucks.

on the trucks there will be one solar fridge or more if possible and on the roof of the truck will be mounted the solar panels for the fridges:

but where will we store all the supermarket stuff after it reaches its destination?

i suggest next to every existing supermarket we dig ahead of time a small tunnel that we will use for the storage of refrigerated foods that need to keep cool.

the temperature a few meters below ground is already pretty cool which will save energy costs in the long run.

the extra cooling will be done "passively" by heat pipe which is a technology that doesn't require energy, it works "by itself". the heat pipes will take the heat from the tunnel through the ceiling of the tunnel to the surface. we should use a liquid in the heat pipe that boils in a lower temperature than water.

so we should use either ammonia (213–373 K), alcohol (methanol (283–403 K) or ethanol (273–403 K).

if you want to see a video of how heat pipe works (not the liquid we will use, and not the temperature range that we will use) see for example here:

How To Make A Heat Pipe (or solar heat collector)  by Robert Murray-Smith

or here:

Homemade Heatpipe by  Nick Moore

if you are worried about freezer, it's also possible but then we need solar power during the day and a battery during the night.

by the way according to Wikipedia Augustin Mouchot produced ice using concentrated solar heat in 1878 at the Universal Exhibition in Paris!


but i hear you asking what will the trucks run on and here we get to the last section.

the trucks will run on electricity. i know i said we will use cars from 1980 or earlier, and back then there were no electric cars at all.

so what we will do is we turn the trucks in their special garages into electric trucks.

i don't know anything about mechanics but there are many videos on youtube about this so i'm sure it's possible and affordable:

example #1:

Electric CAR Conversion! From GASOLINE to ELECTRIC car in ONE video! by George Bolton

example #2:

Karmann Ghia Conversion to Electric (The Process) by  Botts Fine Vids

but what if there is not enough surface for solar panels / wind turbines for all the things we need, like for example if we need to manufacture something which requires great heat, or we have to drill for resources etc?

then we come to the last part of my plan which is help from neighboring areas or even other countries. this is done by laser or microwave beams:

let's say we have a mountain between neighbor cities then on the top of it we can build a bunker with

NASA Wireless Power Transmission Demonstration

for an update about this see here:

History and status of beamed power technology and application at 2.45 GigaHertz
by William C. Brown Raytheon Company

which includes this nice sentence:

"The rectenna survived and was operable after a direct lighting strike on the tower in 1980, and which destroyed equipment on the ground."

it's hard to know what's the current capabilities of such technology, because i get the feeling it didn't advance at all. the U.S. army is making "pain rays" for crowds, and weapons against drone swarms.

all the drone needs is a little mirror to defend and even take out the weapon!

speaking of mirrors i'm thinking now that if an area is isolated without electricity and it doesn't have a lot of Sun, let's say

this can gives New York very little electricity in December. what happens if the EMP strikes in December?

so my idea is to equip airships (we can fill the balloon with helium so that we don't get the Hindenburg disaster all over again) and zig zag the light with huge mirrors from more sunny areas like Florida.

it would be even better if we can create concave and convex mirrors (possibly by pasting small mirrors on a lightweight surface maybe PVC) so we have concentrated beam of light which might be easier to point to the next "solar relay" which is the next zeppelin on the line.

by the way i just bumped into an article in Wikipedia which refered to

which can help a lot in the section that we talked about how to store the solar energy, this can be like a battery for the whole city and used for bigger clients like industry manufacturing or resource excavating and things like that.


about harvesting solar power in space, sadly it's far in the future. i gather this from Japan saying it will be in 2030, and more recently China saying it will be in 2050.

Space Solar Power Project by caltech

when we do have the ability to transmit and receive energy from space, i think each country should have agreements with countries on the other side of the world like here:

so like New York and Australia can be in an agreement, and Russia can be in an agreement with Argentina and Australia and so on.

in case of a Solar Flare, half of the globe suffers more and halr of the world suffers less. so if you are in the lucky half then you can help your unlucky friend country that you are in mutual contract agreement with.

what can the lucky country do to help its friend? let's say that New York is completely fried by Solar Flare but Australia survived the SF , and let's suppose we can transfer power to and from sattelites.

Australia can divert half of it's energy to send it to New York via satellites that can create a chain of relays, like the airships idea but over long range and with microwave or laser.


High-voltage direct current

Most HVDC links use voltages between 100 kV and 800 kV. A 1,100 kV link in China was completed in 2019 over a distance of 3,300 km with a power of 12 GW. With this dimension, intercontinental connections become possible which could help to deal with the fluctuations of wind power and photovoltaics.

notice the nice word: INTER-CONTINENTAL !


"Traditionally, water infrastructure - including tunnels, pipes, and other water delivery systems - was gravity fed by design. More recently, however, a large portion of  this infrastructure has become electricity dependent. The pervasiveness of the electric pump has allowed cities to exist in areas previously uninhabitable due to a lack of gravity fed water. However, disruption of electricity as a result of an EMP attack would cause the failure of any systems reliant on such machinery, including those associated with water purification and delivery. Water sanitation processes, which are vital for human survival, would also be impacted. "

i didn't think about it, but this is super serious and especially with all the diseases that non functioning sewage will cause. the only solution i see is to evacuate cities that rely on electrical sewage pumps into other cities and subsidize the relocation for them. there is no way that people will be able to use chemical toilets on for a long time on the scale of a whole city. composting the feces etc also requires energy and space for gardens etc which a dense urban area simply doesn't have. in the third world people use human waste burn it for energy and make bricks etc, but these people don't have the density of an American city, and where they do they face a lot of disease like in India for example. the water problem is multiplied if we add dehydration from diarrhea.



there is a thing called anti-resonance which means is a special way of resonance where one oscillator moves A LOT and the other moves very little.

in this video it's in a mechanical system (but the same can be done in an electromagnetic system)

Two degree of freedom spring-mass system: Anti-resonance

(The University of British Columbia)

here are two cool examples of electric synchronization

Huygens' Synchronization - Electrostatic Oscillators
by Ami Varsano

Huygens Synchronization with Revolving Balls
by Ami Varsano

please notice that this is NOT anti-resonance, i just want to visually show electric things has properties of coupled oscillators like two pendulum clocks that are hung on the wall next to each other and after a while they synchronize to each other spontanously.


Antiresonance in electrical engineering

In electrical engineering, antiresonance is the condition for which the reactance vanishes and the impedance of an electrical circuit is very high, approaching infinity.

In an electric circuit consisting of a capacitor and an inductor in parallel, antiresonance occurs when the alternating current line voltage and the resultant current are in phase. Under these conditions the line current is very small because of the high electrical impedance of the parallel circuit at antiresonance. The branch currents are almost equal in magnitude and opposite in phase.


so if we put 2 identical power lines instead of 1 in the same direction and connected to each other, and they both get the same input (the EMP) but in a specific phase gap between them, then one of them will be conducting and one will be conductor and one will become insulator. so the conductor one will fry but he will sacrifice himself to save the insulating one.

then after the EMP passed the former insulating power line that survived will get his normal conducting properties back, because it is no longer coupled to anything, and we will use it for electricity.

how do we make this phase gap? this i hope engineers can calculate, but i guess we need "a capacitor and an inductor in parallel" like Wikipedia says.

if this isn't possible than we need to assume the EMP will come from above, and make a lightning rod with specific length that the engineers will tell us, and so one wave will travel a distance X and the other wave will travel a distance X+LightningRodLength and if we get the LightningRodLength just right, it's like you make an antenna for your field radio from a piece of wire in the right length for the radio wave that you want to transmit or receive.

another concept if it's possible to implement logic gates in high voltage (again i don't know how, you need to ask an engineer) is to make an OR logic gate: putting two wires and if they both conduct then don't pass electricity. this again assumes that without a lightning rod the EMP will hit the two wires at roughly the same time. on the other hand if we use just one of the wires then the OR gate will allow the electricity to pass.

perhaps using something like this: High-voltage DC circuit breaker