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The Hydrogen Gold Rush Is On

December 14, 2005View for printing

Move over, Ben Franklin. Todd Livingstone has a plan to solve the energy crisis by capturing huge amounts of energy from lightning.

The idea itself is not new. But Livingstone, an inventor and electronics technician from Boston -- the town where Benjamin Franklin was born 300 years ago next month -- has added a unique twist. Using lasers to capture lightning bolts, he wants to channel them through a large tank of water, producing near-limitless amounts of hydrogen.

The implications, says Livingstone, are "mind-boggling." Put up a network of lasers in a lightning-prone area like Florida, he says, convert that energy into hydrogen, "and we could create more energy than the world needs."

Livingstone has a small-scale prototype of the system and a patent application on file with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. He's busy negotiating with potential investors.

By Dan Orzech

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