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Ese Lightning Arrester: A Boon For Your Safety

Though lightning rods are the oldest form of lightning protection and still used today, in the past few decades advancements in technology have provided more options. Two major types include the Early Streamer Emitter (ESE), similar in approach to the lightning rod, and the Charge Transfer System (CTS), which takes a completely opposite approach to lightning protection.

When it comes to lightning protection, a common misconception is that the different types of solutions available are variations on the same technology. This is not necessarily the case - though the process may rely on the same natural phenomena, the result is entirely different. Although the lightning rod is the most commonly known form of lightning protection, there have been a great number of technological advances since the days of Benjamin Franklin. In addition to the antiquated technology of the lightning rod, two newer technologies are the Charge Transfer System (CTS) and the Early Streamer Emitter (ESE) air terminal. In reality, although both of these products are used for lightning protection, contrary to the publics understanding, they are very different. An ESE is a similar technology to the lightning rod, while DAS is an entirely different type of technology. The only similarity is that all three initially operate off of the same scientific principal or phenomenon, known as “Point Discharge.” However, their actions diverge; the rod and ESE move toward streamer generation whereas the CTS utilize a slow discharge process. Understanding the differences between these technologies is important. For example, it might not be ideal to attract lightning in areas that are highly volatile or indispensable, but instead to prevent it from striking altogether in an area most important to protect. While lightning rods and ESE attract lightning, CTS prevents it from terminating in the area of protection.

Similar to the conventional lightning rod, ESE systems are lightning attractors. However, according to their manufacturers, they are designed to trigger the early initiation of upward streamers, which increases the efficiency of lightning attraction as a way to extend the effective range of protection far beyond that of lightning rods. ESE air terminals can typically be distinguished from ordinary lightning rods due to the presence of a small object near the top, a discharge trigger, and they also can be more geometrically complex. This discharge trigger increases the probability for initiating a “streamer” discharge at or near the tip of the rod when an ionized “leader” approaches. Increasing the probability of streamers and leaders meeting is how ESE systems serve as improved lightning attractors.