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Playing mind games with myself tonight; I know some of the windiest spots in the world are at the tops of mountains and often socked in the clouds. To measure meteorological phenomena at these locations is a difficult task, with rime ice eliminating mechanical energy generation and solar very limited due to clouds.

With occasional ionized cloud droplets, would it be possible to generate electricity "indirectly" by inducing charge on a conductor without any moving parts? Would this be possible even if there were equal numbers of positive and negative ions?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ with rime ice eliminating mechanical energy generation. The wind energy is free, so include electrical heating into all components which aren't heating themselves up. \$\endgroup\$ – Janka Dec 1 '16 at 2:10
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When ions travel in a magnetic field they are deflected due to the Lorentz force. Positive and negative ions experience opposite deflection.

This effect can be used to make an Electro Hydro Dynamic generator.

If ionized wind were blowing through an enclosed channel towards two metal plates that were separated by a gap. And a permanent magnet was placed up-wind of the plates then positive ions would deflect to one plate and negative to the other. A potential difference would develop between the plates due to the accumulation of charge. That difference could be used to generate electric current.

The amount of current would probably be quite small, and would depend on the charge density in the wind, magnetic field strength, wind velocity, and channel shape.

But in my opinion if its really the windiest spots in the world just use a small windmill to generate the electricity. You could probably cut the moving parts down to just one piece the blade (with a permanent magnet on it).

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