Some persons are remaining extremely hostile to change. Whatever changes. As an example, during the 19st century in England, the introduction of train triggered passionate debates between the “modern” and “conservative”. According to the latest, the development of train lines in England shall cause the depersonalization of workers and passengers, the altering of an established social pattern, and of course, tendency to mow down anything that what happened to get in their way, be it public opposition, family land, natural beauties, national history, or even unwary pedestrians on its tracks. Even if the train then divided journeys by five compared to traditional carriages…
Same kind of debate is raging amongst the lightning community. Future generations will probably also look at it as a funny anecdote! A new technology was released in the 1980’s in Europe, the Early Streamer Emission lightning rods. It successfully developed and it has been installed in a vast majority of countries worldwide, including the most lightning prone regions. Still, conservative “experts” are claiming that this advanced technology should be banned and lightning protection should stick to … Benjamin Franklin findings dated mid-18st century.
As per Schumpeter business cycle theory, the innovation cycles are shortening: big data, IA, robots … our environment is changing faster and faster … except for lightning protection that should be sticking to concepts explained more than two centuries ago !
Conservative main point is simple: it’s safer to stick to an old technology rather than moving ahead to a new one because of the lack of experience and feedbacks. Steve Jobs introducing the revolutionary Iphone in 2007 was already joking about this tendency to stick to the “good old” concepts rather than trusting new technologies: https://youtu.be/9hUIxyE2Ns8.
Malaysia national Power Utility Suruhanjaya Tenaga (ST) has recently released a technical survey on its website: https://www.st.gov.my/web/download/listing/72.
This survey is very informative:
- Malaysia has one of the highest lightning density in the world, especially the western part of the Peninsula around the Klang Valley.
- During the 90’s and 2000’s, Malaysia fast development and construction market generated huge number of Early Streamer Emission lightning rods installations.
- The survey has been conducted by an independent Engineering company (https://megajaticonsult.com/), appointed by a national power utility (https://www.st.gov.my/). None of these companies entertains relationships with the ESE industry.
Conducted in six different regions of Malaysia during several weeks, the survey is based on interviews of 328 building operators. The Early Streamer Emission lightning conductors are more reliable and offer higher performances than the conventional solutions inherited from Benjamin Franklin:
For a vast majority of readers, such conclusion is not a surprise. Likewise, no need to conduct a survey to find out that a modern plane is much safer, faster and powerful than Charles Lindbergh aeroplane. But we guess those will surely ignite new debates and controversies in the lightning community and its numerous “experts”.