Science and Invention, formerly Electrical Experimenter

An article about Plauson’s invention: a system that will deliver current that can be used for industrial purposes.
by H. Gernsback, from Science and Invention, February 1922

During the War there was developed in Germany a new art – or science — that bids fair to revolutionize our present means of obtaining power.

This art, which is as new now as wireless was twenty-five years ago, will attain proportions during the next twenty years that may appear fantastic today. The inventor of the new science, an engineer of note, Herr Hermann Plauson, has devoted years of labor to his researches and he has now actually in use small power plants, that generate electricity direct from the air, day and night, without interruption at practically no cost, once the plant is constructed.

We had occasion, in one of our former issues, to describe the system, roughly, from cabled dispatches, but complete information is available now. The amount of electrical power that resides in our atmosphere is astounding. Herr Plauson found in his experiments that a single balloon sent aloft to a height of 300 yards gave a constant current at 400 volts of 1.8 amperes, or in 24 hours over 171/4kilowatts! By using two balloons in connection with a special condenser battery, the power obtained was 811/2kilowatts in 24 hours! The actual current delivered was 6.8 amperes at 500 volts.

发明人使用的最佳气球由薄铝叶制成。没有使用织物。简单的肋骨内部系统,保持和电线,给出球囊刚度以及一定量的弹性。气球在发热时,用氦气耕种,氦气或更好。然后它会一次留下高乐园。外表面配有极锋利的销,电解急剧。普通别针没有证明良好的集中器,因为它们缺乏极度清晰度。销本身由含有镭制备的胺化锌制成,以使空气电离。还发现,通过将气球的外表面与锌 - 氨基汞产生更多的电流可以收集。甚至用Polonium-Amalgam获得了更好的结果。 Plauson states that the function of these amalgams is purely photoelectric.

One hundred of such captive balloons, separated one hundred yards from each other, will give a steady yield of 200 horse power. This is the minimum, because in the winter this figure increase, r.p to 400 horse power, due to the higher electrification of the atmosphere.

We need not go into the technic of how life current is finally made useable for industrial purposes, suffice it to say that the problem has been entirely solved by Herr Plauson. By using batteries of condensers, high tension transformers, etc., the current can be transformed to any form desired, such as for lighting lamps, running motors, charging storage batteries, etc. Plauson also invented a sort of electrostatic rotary transformer which gives alternating current without the use of condensers and transformers. Indeed, its output is very great, as it actually “sucks” the current down rapidly from the collector balloons. There is no doubt that this invention will soon come into universal use all over the world. We will see the land dotted with the captive balloons, particularly in the country and wherever water power does not abound. Indeed, the time is not distant when nearly all of our power will be derived from the atmosphere. So far it seems to be the cheapest form of power known, it being much cheaper than even water power—the cheapest form of power known to-day.

Not only that, but as the inventor points out, no devastating thunder storms occur near such aerial power plants, because the balloons act not only as lightning-arresters, but they quickly discharge the biggest thunder cloud, safely and noiselessly through their grounded spark gaps.