It is known that lightning discharges (lightning strokes) cause significant material damage to almost all major technical systems (electrical power, telecommunication, railway, oil and gas refining, …). In addition, lightning strokes can be life threatening to people and animals. Lightning strokes often cause large forest fires and fires in residential and industrial buildings. Significant material damage is also caused to various electronic devices and IT systems by lightning strokes.
Apart from direct material damages, lightning strokes also cause indirect material damage: interruptions of power supply, interruptions of telecommunication traffic, disrupt of air and rail traffic. Indirect material damages considerably exceed direct material damages caused by lightning strokes. Thus, for example, lightning strokes to high voltage overhead lines cause 50 to 70% of all overhead line outages. Overhead line outages lead to interruptions of power supply, and may also lead to complete breakdown of the system. In order to select the appropriate lightning protection system, it is necessary to identify the parameters of lightning current:
Thanks to the progress in the development of measurement, information and communication technologies, today it is possible to develop a very powerful system for measuring parameters of lightning current. The basic idea behind this project is to improve the performance of Montenegrin scientific research and economic activity through the creation of environment for technology transfer. The intention is to create, develop and maintain a station for researching the lightnings on mountain Lovcen that will be competitive on the international level.
Internal research has shown that there is no similar concept of applied scientific researches in Montenegro at the moment. It is important to point out that currently in Europe, there are three stations for measuring the shape of lightning current: Tower Santis, Switzerland, The Hill Gaisberg, Austria and Hill Peissenberg, Germany.
Selection and design of lightning protection system are today based on data obtained more than 50 years ago at monitoring stations in South African Republic and Switzerland. All international recommendations and corresponding standards (IEEE, CIGRE, …) are based on these data. Disadvantage of these data is that there is a small number of samples and the fact that there was used an old measuring technology (old analog oscilloscopes – automatic data processing was not possible). The latest CIGRE brochure from August 2013, which was prepared by the group of reputed world experts in the field of researches of the lightning phenomenon, development of technology for testing the above phenomenon and development of technology for lightning protection, includes all the results in this field from the past 50 years. This brochure confirms that data which have been collected so far do not constitute a representative sample of serious statistical analysis and establishment of relations between the parameters of lightning current. The authors specifically recommend continuation and development of tests based on direct measurements of the lightning current, which is only possible by installing the monitoring station that is proposed on the mountain Lovcen. It should be noted that the analysis have shown a remarkable fact that, for example, one year of monitoring station on Lovcen is corresponding to 50 years of station operation on “Peissenberg Tower” in Germany (for more details see technical description of this project).
It is the fact that on the new list of the Global Innovation Index (GII), which ranks countries according to the mass of new technological and scientific inventions and innovations, Montenegro fell down for 15 places in 2014 and ranked 59th among 143 countries surveyed. It is important to emphasize that the Global Innovation Index consists of several sub-indices, some of which deviate significantly from the overall result. For example, under the impact of science and technology, Montenegro is on 109th place, and according to the research infrastructure it is on 78th place. Hence, the aim of this project is to provide a better position to Montenegro in the world of science and technology, and therefore the progress of economy and improvement of competitiveness at the international level.
The expected results are to obtain very significant measurement system for monitoring parameters of lightning current. The measurement system, together with the central server would operate completely automatically and in real time. The entire system is be based on the latest information, communication and measurement technologies, and so far there is no similar system anywhere in the world. The developed software and modern communication technologies would have all the features of “Cloud Computing”.
In the first stage of the project, measurement results would be delivered in real-time to the institutions that the project investors determine. In addition, the results would be available to faculties participating in project implementation.
After completion of the project to potential users may be:
- R&D centers
- Meteorological centers
- Telecom companies
- Electric power companies
- Petrochemical companies
- Companies operation Lighnting Location Systems
- International organisations CIGRE, IEEE, SEE, CEATI, …
Since the parameters of lightning current are of great interest at the international level, it is proposed that this system evolves into a system of international importance. Given that measurement results are available in real time, they are of great importance to international organizations and institutions listed in previous section. We expect that financing of the system operation after expiry date of the project would be supported by foreign institutions and funds. Interest in this project have already been expressed by Electricite de France, University of Bologna and Technical University of Graz.
Considering the activities, a key activity that will be undertaken during the project relates to the establishment, organization and equipping unique measuring station for researching the lightning, which will become an academic and professional centre for top scientists from the country and abroad, and encourage the performance and improving the education of researchers. Further activities are related to the use of monitoring station, commercialization and patent activities, ensuring sustainability and dissemination activities.