‘Are you working on ways to harvest lightning?’ – and other great questions from the Energy Centre Visitors Day

Image by Catalin.Fatu via Wikipedia Commons

There’s a lot of energy in them thar clouds. Image: Catalin.Fatu via Wikipedia Commons.


When you play host to a hundred curious visitors, some interesting questions are sure to come up. This was definitely the case recently when we ran public tours of the CSIRO Energy Centre that started with a cuppa, progressed through our energy-saving buildings and ended with an elevated view over the solar thermal fields.

The guides – engineer Dan L, site communications guru Keirissa and myself – were kept on our toes with questions that ranged from the detailed (‘Which way does the electricity run in a fuel cell?’) to the conceptual (‘What do you think shapes people’s attitudes to renewables?’). We did our best to answer what we could, and we hope everyone left with a bit more understanding of the technologies that are being developed here in Newcastle.

Oh, and by the way, we aren’t researching ways to use lightning energy  – but the person who asked clearly has the same kind of outside-the-square thinking as the scientists and engineers that thought up the tree-powered sensor network, vibration-harvesting clothing, and fridges that talk to each other – all of which are projects from our Newcastle site.

If you or someone you know would like to visit the Energy centre, the dates of upcoming tours and application forms are available at Energy Centre visitors for 2012. The next one’s on August 9 – which should give you plenty of time to think up some interesting questions.

Were you one of our visitors on Thursday? Please leave a comment and give us your feedback!

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