IRKUTSK, May 18 (Itar-Tass) – The Irkutsk State Technological University has developed a lightening direction finder capable of tracing thunderstorms at the distance of several hundreds of kilometers. This is the first lightening direction finder designed in modern Russia; besides it is five to ten times cheaper than foreign analogs, the University told Itar-Tass.
“The device may operate on up to 500 kilometers. That range is important for research, while the distance of 300 to 350 kilometers is of interest for the economy,” head of the Radio-Physics Laboratory of the University’s Physics and Technology Institute Alexander Chensky told Itar-Tass. The device may trace thunderstorms, evaluate their parameters and draw lightening maps, which may be used in the construction of power lines, oil and gas pipelines.
The Russian Emergency Situations Ministry and weather stations are using lightening direction finders, but most of them are of the Russian make, Chensky said. The device is not in big demand by commercial companies so far.
“A foreign-made device costs from $5,000 to $10,000, while our device will cost about $1,000, which gives us a serious competitive advantage. We are looking for investors to begin commercial production and have offered our device to a number of energy companies. Tests of the prototype have been successful,’” the scientist said.
The Radio-Physics Laboratory of the Irkutsk State Technological University’s Physics and Technology Institute was established in 2011. The government assigned about 15 million rubles to the laboratory within the institute financing. The laboratory bought equipment and created work places for employees and students with the money.