The image: The Hydra Tower, a concept for a skyscraper that channels lightning strikes into clean energy, melds green technology with eye-catching architecture. (See rendering below.) Built out of the ultra-conductive material graphene, the building is conceived to channel the energy of a lightning bolt to capacitors at the building's base. Designed by a group of Serbian architects, the Hydra Tower recently won an honorable mention at the 2011 Evolo Skyscraper Competition. Its creators hope it could one day be put to use in tropical areas, where 70 percent of the earth's 16 million lightning storms occur each year.
The reaction: Graphene is "one of the sexiest, almost-not-a-fantasy materials out there," says Evan Ackerman at DVICE, and would be perfect for conducting massive amounts of energy. Still, lightening harvesting has been tried and it "didn't pan out." So, sadly, it "looks like this this concept is gonna stay a concept, for now." Plus, wouldn't it be hard to "try and catch something that never strikes the same place twice?" asks Mark R. at Coolest Gadgets. Check out the unusual structure below:
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- 6 things the happiest families all have in common
- Why the Chinese military is only a paper dragon
- Libertarianism's terrible, horrible, no good, very bad idea
- Christian conservatives have a terrifying new bogeyman: The Christian leftist
- 5 innovative uses for baking soda
- 10 innovative furniture designs that brilliantly save you space
- The battle over e-cigarettes
- How our botched understanding of 'science' ruins everything
Subscribe to the Week