EMF below Power Transmission Lines

In summary, the conversation discusses the possibility of harnessing the power generated by the voltage accumulating on railroad rails near transmission lines. However, it is not a viable or ethical option as it essentially involves stealing power from the power company and can be dangerous. The conversation also raises questions about the technical aspects of such a system.
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FFjhh
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TL;DR Summary
Been thinking about this off and on for years.
Many years ago I was responsible for maintaining the integrity of a buried fiber optic cable that utilized a railroad right-of-way. Kinda like watching submarine races !

Along much of this routing, transmission towers / power lines would be adjacent to the railroad. Talking with railroad personnel, they would tell me of voltages accumulating on the rails with visible arcing sometimes happening.

With this in mind, I’ve often wondered if it would be possible to harness this power by utilizing some type of monitoring / collection system placed directly beneath these transmission lines.

I suppose that given enough information, an estimate could be made as to the available power that could be accessible to an accumulation system. This is beyond my ability.

So if anyone has already gone through this exercise, I would be most interested in hearing.

So as a mind exercise, I have been thinking of methods to harness or measure this power.

Some assumptions and questions come to mind regarding an apparatus to do this.

- Some layout of conductors beneath the lines would of course be necessary.

- Parallel to the above lines or perpendicular to ?

- would a circularly polarized collection device offer any advantage / disadvantage over a linear one ?

- I assume that any collection device would require the use of the Earth as a second contact point (ground), or not ?

- I assume that transmission lines were the standard 60Hz, here in the US ?

- How might the magnetic fields come into play in a scenario for collection such as this ?

- What might a ferrous conductor wrapped with a copper conductor produce below these lines ? DC current ?

- The below is from a WHO document. I'm having a bid of a time understanding exactly what the 10 kV m^-1 means ?

The highest electric field strength at ground level from overheadlines is typically around 10 kV m^-1 (AGNIR, 2001b; NIEHS, (1995)

https://www.who.int/peh-emf/publications/elf_ehc/en/ (Chapter 2)

Any thoughts or links to articles that may be helpful toward this understanding would be appreciated. Short of maths from calculus and above though !

thanks, jack
 
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  • #2
FFjhh said:
I’ve often wondered if it would be possible to harness this power by utilizing some type of monitoring / collection system placed directly beneath these transmission lines.
You can get power that way, but you aren't harvesting free or otherwise wasted energy - you're stealing it from the power company. It's illegal in many jurisdictions, and if you aren't an expert in power transmission engineering it's also seriously dangerous.

It's easy to think that energy is just going to waste when you see a charge being built up on the railroad rails... so why not harvest it? But that's not what happening. Power is voltage times current, and there's no current flowing when a voltage difference builds up between the rails, so no power loss from the power line - we just have a more than usually complicated electromagnetic field in the vicinity of the power line. But as soon as you start drawing a current from the rails you are taking power from the power line to maintain that voltage, just as if you were taking power from a stepdown transformer on the line.

So can be done, but it's as unethical as any other theft, dangerous, and maybe illegal. Don't do it.
 
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Related to EMF below Power Transmission Lines

1. What is EMF and how is it related to power transmission lines?

EMF stands for electromagnetic fields, which are created by the movement of electricity through power lines. Power transmission lines carry high-voltage electricity, which produces strong EMF fields around them.

2. Is EMF from power transmission lines harmful to human health?

There is ongoing research and debate about the potential health effects of EMF exposure. Some studies have suggested a possible link between long-term exposure to high levels of EMF and certain health issues, but more research is needed to fully understand the effects.

3. How far away from power transmission lines should I be to avoid EMF exposure?

The strength of EMF fields decreases with distance, so the further away you are from power transmission lines, the lower your exposure will be. The general recommendation is to maintain a distance of at least 300 feet from high-voltage power lines.

4. Can I measure the EMF levels near power transmission lines?

Yes, there are devices called EMF meters that can measure the strength of EMF fields. However, it is important to note that these readings can vary depending on factors such as weather conditions and the specific location of the measurement.

5. What precautions can I take to reduce my exposure to EMF from power transmission lines?

If you live or work near power transmission lines, you can take some simple steps to reduce your exposure to EMF. These include maintaining a safe distance, limiting the time you spend near the lines, and using shielding materials to block EMF. It is also important to follow safety guidelines and regulations set by your local government or utility company.

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